An Agile Approach Towards Leading in a Rapidly Changing Environment

An Agile Approach Towards Leading in a Rapidly Changing Environment

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Remaining agile and leveraging learning experiences is how our global head of development operations leads transformation at Daiichi Sankyo

As a physician and drug developer, Marielle Cohard-Radice, MD has experienced many challenging opportunities throughout her career that have informed her agile approach to leading during times of change.

Dr. Cohard-Radice was an athlete growing up, interested in pursuing nutrition as a potential career. However, during conversations with friends and family, she was challenged to not forget her fascination with biology and physiology, and eventually decided to tackle medical school. As a trained gastroenterologist, Dr. Cohard-Radice brings her experience in treating patients in the hospital setting to her work today in order to continue to transform the lives of patients.

Now, as Executive Vice President, Global Head of Development Operations, Dr. Cohard-Radice leads a team of professionals who are the core engine of clinical trial execution across Daiichi Sankyo’s pipeline that works tirelessly to bring new, innovative medicines to patients.

Learning during challenging times
After Dr. Cohard-Radice joined the pharmaceutical industry, she was quickly involved in the development of a medicine for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis C, which eventually became the standard of care for more than a decade. 

“I always say this was a very rare experience -- to be involved in the development of a medicine that ended up having such a great impact on helping the patients that I treated every day in the hospital,” said Dr. Cohard-Radice. “I was extremely lucky to have this opportunity to be involved in patient care from both sides.” 

However, while not all experiences can be as successful as this one, they can still prove to be enriching. Dr. Cohard-Radice has experienced challenging times throughout her career. “Presenting the findings in a factual way, having difficult conversations with leaders and making the right decisions – and sometimes they are tough decisions – has been a very enriching experience for me because I have seen what good looks like, and I have seen the other end of the spectrum,” said Dr. Cohard-Radice. 

Leading in times of change
Dr. Cohard-Radice joined Daiichi Sankyo in 2012 to lead the clinical operations group. It was only three years later that Daiichi Sankyo started its pivot from being a cardiovascular-focused company to becoming one with a competitive advantage in oncology, and Dr. Cohard-Radice leveraged her previous experiences to lead and build the operational expertise Daiichi Sankyo needed to become a player in oncology.

When leading during times of change, teams need to work together. Dr. Cohard-Radice and her team worked with the cross-functional project teams to optimize ways of working and building the necessary internal governance that would enable the delivery of Daiichi Sankyo’s oncology portfolio. 

To do so, Dr. Cohard-Radice brought the right experts onboard and enabled them to deliver, while never losing focus on the company’s new vision during its transformation. “I have learned to ask more questions in order to really understand the challenges and connect colleagues with the right people,” said Dr. Cohard-Radice. “Our work is very complex and regulated. It’s all about working through others, making sure they have the right tools to be successful and removing roadblocks. And, to remember that nobody has all the answers.”

In addition to development operations, another recent assignment for Dr. Cohard-Radice includes serving as the President of Daiichi Sankyo Oncology France. In this capacity, she is working in close collaboration with R&D leaders to build an R&D hub to expand Daiichi Sankyo’s oncology clinical development presence in Europe by connecting and nurturing relationships with the oncology medical community in order to continue to grow the company’s clinical trial operations and execution presence within the region. 

As leaders and drug developers, we need exposure to many different experiences to become skillful. Working in the pharmaceutical industry has never been smooth sailing and over time our skills are sharpened because of all the opportunities and learning experiences we have. Keep your mind open to embrace change because it will bring opportunities that you never thought would be possible.

-    Marielle Cohard-Radice, MD, EVP, Global Head of Development Operations

Pushing Boundaries for Growth
As new opportunities are created to support the long-term vision of Daiichi Sankyo becoming a global company with a competitive advantage in oncology, Dr. Cohard-Radice freely shares her experiences and talks about the importance of people stepping outside of their comfort zone to experience different things, especially women in science and management. “Women have a unique ability to understand, seek truth and offer support and alternatives,” says Dr. Cohard-Radice. “This is an important role whether working with customers, colleagues or patients.”



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