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Strategic Insights from Novartis's Front Lines: Leading Through Transition

Novartis's Global Program Clinical Head shares his experiences navigating the personal and professional challenges of a department shutdown, layoffs, and other major changes.

In the most recent episode of our podcast, The Life Science Rundown, The FDA Group's Nick Capman sat down with Stephen Poor, a physician-scientist with over 20 years of experience in the industry, mainly with Novartis, currently serving as Novartis's Global Program Clinical Head.

They discuss the psychological and professional impacts of organizational changes in pharma, particularly focusing on identity and adaptation during times of transition, such as layoffs or department closures — a challenge that many in the industry have faced recently.

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Discussion points include:

  • Stephen's transition due to organizational shutdown and his journey through change.

  • Stephen's experiences and thought processes, from realizing Novartis's exit from ophthalmology to starting a new job, focusing on maintaining identity in times of change.

  • The importance of maintaining a positive outlook, using visualization techniques, and combating self-limiting beliefs during periods of professional uncertainty.

  • Predictions for 2024 and 2025.

  • Insights into managing layoffs thoughtfully, ensuring those who leave feel respected and valued.

  • The FDA Group's strategic plans, including potential acquisitions to leverage anticipated economic growth.

  • The need for positive thinking, proactive planning, and readiness to capitalize on upcoming opportunities in the life sciences industry.

Stephen Poor is the Global Program Clinical Head at Novartis, bringing over 20 years of experience in ophthalmology biotech-pharma and a strong medical background to his role. He is at the forefront of developing innovative therapies for retinal diseases, focusing on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and geographic atrophy (GA), the leading causes of blindness in the elderly.

Stephen led the clinical team for PPY998 (GT005), a Phase 2b subretinal complement factor I gene therapy for GA, a significant acquisition from Gyroscope in 2021. His role extends beyond PPY998 to overseeing undisclosed gene therapy programs and novel drug delivery devices. Stephen works to bridge the gap between Novartis's research, development, and commercial sectors through strategic collaboration and advisory duties. He plays a key role in external strategy, asset and technology review to enhance the department's portfolio, and coordination of scientific support for the portfolio.

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