Fabrice Chouraqui was formerly the President Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. In this role, he led the pharmaceutical business in the U.S., including the day-to-day operations of US General Medicines. He joined Novartis in 2010. Chouraqui’s experience in the pharma industry includes leadership positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Hoechst Marion Roussel. He holds a Master’s degree in science and a Ph.D. in pharmaceuticals from the University of Paris as well as an MBA from INSEAD. In May 2020, he became CEO of Cellarity.
What made you decide to pursue both science (PharmD) and business (MBA) degrees? Very early in my scientific studies I was attracted by the developers and manufacturers of these medicines. As I became more interested in drug development and worked in this field, I realized the drug industry was a business requiring significant investments and profits to be sustainable. This pushed me to complement my scientific degrees with an MBA to develop my business skills and strengthen my understanding of the various components of commercializing a product.
How has your scientific educational background helped you when working with scientists at your current and previous jobs? You mentioned that you “understood” scientists and the way they worked. In what way do you feel that you “understand them” and how is this beneficial to the work that you do? The science is evolving fast, clinical pathways and R&D plans are becoming more complex. You cannot be an expert in everything, but you have to understand enough to be credible and ask the right questions. This helps to have constructive dialogue and to ensure the right data is generated and investments are prioritized appropriately. Ultimately, innovation is the result of experiments and failures, so it is critical not to shelf ideas or technologies too quickly. On the other hand, it is important to understand when to move on.
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