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Former MedImmune Employees Leading In the BioHealth Capital Region and Beyond

In a recent conversation someone shared the quote “You can’t throw a stone in the BioHealth Capital Region and not hit somebody who worked at MedImmune”. This statement emphasizes how important the company was in seeding the growth of the biotech industry in Maryland. Founded by Wayne T. Hockmeyer in 1988 as Molecular Vaccines, Inc., MedImmune became one of the cornerstone Biotech companies in what eventually was named the BioHealth Capital Region.

Powered by the drug Synagis, MedImmune grew quickly in the late 1990’s and into the early 2000’s with a sales force in the hundreds and a new campus in Gaithersburg located across the street from the Kentlands.

Purchased by AstraZeneca for $15.6B in 2007, the MedImmune brand was kept as a new biologics R&D division of the parent company.

In early 2019 after over 30 years, AstraZeneca retired the MedImmune brand but its legacy lives on and can be felt from the labs to the boardrooms of nearly every company in the region today.

Here’s a deeper look into MedImmune’s legacy with the help of former employees and how it has impacted their careers as they moved on to other organizations in the BioHealth Capital Region and beyond.

Amanda McAndrews: Senior Director, Corporate Compliance, United Therapeutics

MedImmune Employee:  2002-2017

Final Role with MedImmune: Director, R&D Business Operations

Looking back at your time with MedImmune, please share your thoughts on what the company meant to you and the region. 

MedImmune was essentially my first corporate gig out of college and is the company that I completely owe my upward trajectory to as well as my learning about biotechnology and the healthcare field in general.  The company’s mission and passion for patients was always something that I could get behind, and inspired me to give 110% no matter what projects I was involved in.  Having held various roles over my tenure there (training and development, sales, compliance, business operations etc.), I was able to home in on my strengths, weaknesses and what I really loved to do.  I’m a “process person” and have thrived in operational roles.  It is also important to me that my company operates with the utmost integrity and ethics.  At the end of my time at Medi, I was leading a global team of 20+ employees and contractors, and really tapped into my people management side – a side I never wanted to tap into, but am actually pretty good at because one of my managers at Medi recognized it and cultivated it.  I received so much great leadership and development training throughout my years there, and continue to leverage those skills in my career. 

I have so many good memories from MedImmune, but mainly it was the people that stood out.  I was surrounded by the best and brightest, and the most genuinely good people.  Many are still great friends, and I still consider one of my favorite supervisors my “life coach” and still speak to him regularly for advice and guidance in my personal and professional life.

What are you doing now? Tell us about your current role and the organization you are with.

When AstraZeneca first acquired MedImmune, the company was an independently-operating entity for several years so I was in somewhat of an R&D bubble.  As the integration happened over time, the constant changes to people, processes, and systems became too much to keep up with, especially given that my global team was supporting employees all over the world (assisting with contracting and payment processes).  I also wanted to go back to school so  I started looking for opportunities at a smaller biotech that had the same old MedImmune entrepreneurial spirit and better work/life balance.  A former MedImmune colleague was Chief Compliance Officer at United Therapeutics, a mid-size biotech in Silver Spring, and reached out because she was building up her compliance department. The company was also about to enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement and I viewed that as something that would be great experience on my résumé.

I’m currently Senior Director, Corporate Compliance at UT, and responsible for communications, training, compliance operations, and global transparency reporting.  I also constantly partner with the business to provide guidance on new projects and activities.  Our team is small but mighty, and we all roll up our sleeves to get whatever needs to get done accomplished.  It reminds me of the nimble, dynamic environment that I loved at MedImmune for so long, and we have so many exciting things in our pipeline.  The company has been on the Washington Post Top Workplaces list for many years, and I hope to spend as many years here as I did at MedImmune!

Eric Victory: VP, Global Strategic Marketing, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals

MedImmune Employee:  2001-2020

Final Role with MedImmune: VP, Partnering & Strategy – Head for CV/Renal/Metabolism & Infectious Disease

Looking back at your time with MedImmune, please share your thoughts on what the company meant to you and the region.

MedImmune was first and foremost filled with a group of incredibly motivated people determined to make a difference – notably in both the R&D and commercial teams, both of which I had a chance to spend time with during my service there.  Although it was growing quickly by the time I arrived, I also found it was nimble enough that I was able to have a real impact from the very beginning.

What are you doing now? Tell us about your current role and the organization you are with.

I have recently joined the commercial team at Aurinia Pharmaceuticals – we’re planning for our first launch, and I’m working across the organization to assess the commercial potential of our compound, looking with our senior management team at how we can build out the company, and playing a role in bringing new programs into the company.

Jeff Davis: Director of Account Management, CareMetx, LLC

MedImmune Employee:  2007-2018

Final Role with MedImmune: Associate Director of Operations, Access Services

Looking back at your time with MedImmune, please share your thoughts on what the company meant to you and the region.

MedImmune provided me the opportunity to transition my career into the Biotech and Healthcare space.  I was rewarded in getting to know a team of incredibly dedicated professionals who are passionate in their pursuit to improve patient lives.  My fondest memories are the relationships I established with various sales, account management and other cross-functional Medi professionals.  I found great satisfaction through my training roles and leading and supporting the strategic goal to insource Reimbursement Patient Services support through the in-house Access 360 team.  A special highlight was leading our efforts to mobilize our Field Sales organization providing much needed maintenance and the building of a new baseball/recreational field for the St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Las Vegas, a great example of Medi’s focus on giving back to the community. 

What are you doing now? Tell us about your current role and the organization you are with.

At CareMetx, I have continued my passion to support and impact patient lives.  From Intake to Outcomes, CareMetx is dedicated to supporting the patient journey by reinventing hub services through innovative digital technology and delivering decision making data to our bio-pharmaceutical and medical device clients.   As a Director of Account Management, I provide clients strategic patient services consultation and spearhead the ongoing account relationships.  I strive to exceed our customers’ expectations by delivering innovative and superior patient support services.

R. Michael Smullen: Co-Founder, CEO, Chairman, Alternative Medical Enterprises (AltMed)

MedImmune Employee:  1994-2007

Final Role with MedImmune: Senior Vice President, Sales

Looking back at your time with MedImmune, please share your thoughts on what the company meant to you and the region.

MedImmune was one of the most innovative and successful Biotech Companies in the United States.  It was considered the flagship Bio Pharma Company in the Washington DC/VA Biotech corridor.  I was incredibly proud of the legacy MedImmune left within the industry:  the important products successfully brought to market, the talented and passionate people I worked with and the wonderful culture that we all helped to create.  Most of us that were on the journey together would say that there will never be another MedImmune.

What are you doing now? Tell us about your current role and the organization you are with.

In 2014, I Co-Founded Alternative Medical Enterprises (AltMed), a vertically integrated Medical Cannabis Company that brings pharmaceutical precision to the development, production, commercialization, and dispensing of Medical Cannabinoids.  Headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, AltMed has significant business operations in Florida and Arizona. It has been recognized as one of the premier Medical Cannabis Companies in the US. I currently serve as AltMed’s Chairman and CEO. AltMed currently employs over 700 people.

Raphaella Thorson: Learning Systems Manager, AstraZeneca

MedImmune Employee:  2007-2011, 2016+

Final Role with MedImmune: Learning Systems Manager within MedImmune Business Operations

Looking back at your time with MedImmune, please share your thoughts on what the company meant to you and the region.

Medimmune felt like a very progressive company to work for, prioritizing a great place to work for its employees, and understanding the need for things like “women’s Summit” which addressed the disparity facing women in the workplace. There were a lot of employee engagement efforts that allowed employees direct access to leadership. You knew you were a part of something special.

What are you doing now? Tell us about your current role and the organization you are with.

I am currently a learning systems manager within the development operations organization at AstraZeneca. I am involved in ensuring learning plans are appropriately created in the LMS to drive inspection readiness and compliance, as well as creating and implementing the learning technology strategy for R&D. AstraZeneca R&D has recently been re-organized which has come with its challenges as well as opportunities. A lot of processes are being optimized to ensure we are standardizing across R&D. I am excited for the opportunity to innovate learning with R&D and help drive a culture of lifelong learning.

Rebecca Burnett, Executive Director and Head of Strategic Service, Framework Solutions

MedImmune Employee: 2003-2011

Final Role with MedImmune: Director of Marketing Operations

Looking back at your time with MedImmune, please share your thoughts on what the company meant to you and the region. 

My tenure at MedImmune was definitely a signature experience in terms of my career.  I believe this was due to the exceptional culture and values that were at the core of the company.  Every employee was motivated and engaged and truly committed to the vision and mission of the work being done at MedImmune.  For me personally, it was a time of immense professional growth and development that afforded me exposure to new and exciting opportunities.  I was fortunate to work for passionate managers and department heads who fostered creativity and collaboration among their teams.   To this day the Medimmune alumni network is a strong and active collection of former colleagues and teammates who routinely share and jointly celebrate professional and personal successes.  Those connections keep the MedImmune spirit alive for me, nearly a decade after I left the organization.

What are you doing now? Tell us about your current role and the organization you are with.

Currently, I am back in Colorado, where I grew up and now am working for a great company, Framework Solutions. My role is as Executive Director and Head of the Strategic Services Division, where I lead a team of process experts that provide strategic advisory and consultative services to Late-Stage and Commercialized Pharmaceutical and Medical Device companies. We are global industry leaders in the design and deployment of Medical, Legal, and Regulatory (MLR) Review and Approval processes for Late-Stage Companies. We are experts in helping Commercial Entities operate more efficiently with improvements in their content strategy and review and approval processes, utilization of technology, training for their staffs, and ongoing operational wellness evaluations. It allows my team and I to help companies develop and improve their Content Management and Approval Processes. Frameworks is a company I would have loved to partner with when I was Director of Marketing Operations at MedImmune to have improved our processes. 

We’re way beyond MedIConnect (Who else remembers that?) in 2020! Frameworks currently partners with 60+ Veeva PromoMats and MedComms clients and over a hundred brand teams. One of the things I am most proud of about Frameworks is how much we’ve been able to assist our partners in their continued success. In the past 24 months, Frameworks has helped over 70% of all late-stage Pharma companies in the US establish their Content Management and/or Approval Process. That only happens because we have a talented expert Process Coordinators, Digital Asset Librarians, and Strategic Services Consultants to drive quality, efficiency, and compliance all across the US. Check us out at www.framesol.com.

Tricia Dring: Associate General Counsel, MacroGenics, Inc.

MedImmune Employee:  2001-2014 (2014-2017 with AstraZeneca)

Final Role with MedImmune: Senior Counsel (final title with AstraZeneca Executive Director, Market Access and Patient Solutions)

Looking back at your time with MedImmune, please share your thoughts on what the company meant to you and the region.

MedImmune was unparalleled in its commitment to the development of great leaders with a passion for the potential of biotechnology in improving the lives of patients.  I was incredibly fortunate that MedImmune recognized the value in diverse backgrounds.  When I started in the legal department, my biotech experience was as a bench chemist attending law school at night.  From the beginning, I was encouraged to work with the senior management, empowered to share my ideas, stretched by taking on new projects, and supported during challenging times.  Through my tenure, I worked in many different areas of the law, and even spent a few years in a business role.   I credit MedImmune for my approach to leadership and development today.

What are you doing now? Tell us about your current role and the organization you are with.

I am now the Associate General Counsel at MarcoGenics, a clinical-stage biotechnology focused on bringing innovative oncology products to patients.  We are currently planning for our first commercial launch while continuing to advance multiple clinical-stage programs.   I am focused on updating our legal and compliance capabilities to best position us for the future.

It doesn’t end with the 7 individuals profiled for this article. Here are more former MedImmune employees still working in the BioHealth Capital Region.

Aaron Vernon, VP, Engineering and Supply Chain, Autolus Therapeutics

Abigail Jenkins, Senior Vice President, Unit Head Vaccines & Anti-Infectives, Emergent BioSolutions

Andy Skibo, Chief Operations Consultant, FLUGEN, Inc.

Ashley McAdams, M.A., Global Supply Chain Manager, GSK

Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., CEO, Immunocore

Bart Kus, Director, Business Operations, Viela Bio

Brian Abraham, Director of Market Access, Life Sciences, BDO USA, LLP.

Brian Rosen, Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy, Novavax, Inc.

Cara Felish, Vice President, Commercial Operations, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Carla Brooks, Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, Advertising & Promotion, Blueprint Medicines

Christi Clark-Bieberich, Account Manager, Hematology, BeriGene

Elissa Cote, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Marketing, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Eric Richman, former President & CEO, PharmAthen.  Director, NeuBase Therapeutics, Inc.

Frank Czworka, Vice President, Global Customer Engagement, U.S. Pharmacopeia

Jamie Lacey-Moreira, Principal and Founder, PressComm PR, LLC

Jarrod Borkat, Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Emergent BioSolutions

Jennifer Butler, Executive Vice President, US- General Manager, Innate Pharma

John Trainer, Chief Financial Officer, NexImmune, Inc.

John Trizzino, Senior Vice President, Chief Business Officer, CFO, Novavax, Inc.

Julie Garner, Head of US Government Affairs, AstraZeneca

Kate Surdez, Head of Human Resources, Viela Bio

Maura Kahn, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Marketing, Noxilizer, Inc.

Michael Richman, President & CEO, NextCure

Quinlan Hicks-Smith, Sr.Manager, Inside Sales and Customer Operations, Otsuka Pharmaceutical

Rebecca Farkas, Director, External R&D, Scientific Collaborations, GSK

Rob Palmero, Senior Director, Head of US Field Access and Reimbursement, Sarepta Therapeutics

Scott Carmer, CEO, NexImmune, Inc.

Silvia Taylor, Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Affairs, Novavax, Inc.

Stephanie Duatschek, BioPharma Executive Management Consultant

Stephanie Read, Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Business Development, CSL

Tracey Vetterick, Chief Operating Officers, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca

Tracy Rossin, Vice President, Global Head of Communications, Innate Pharma

If you worked at MedImmune and would like to share your experience along with what you’re up to now. Please share this article with your social media network with an update.

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Andy Eckert

Andy Eckert

Andy has worked with BioBuzz for the last decade to help spread the word of the BioHealth Capital Region even before it was branded with that name. His background includes years at MedImmune supporting the Commercial Operations Organization before becoming a BioHealth Nomad working with various clients in Operations, Communications and Strategic Services.

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