19 March 2020

1st global Biopharma CEO / top execs virtual press briefing – COVID-19

Hosted By IFPMA

For any questions, please contact:

Global Biopharmaceutical Industry pulling out all the stops to address Coronavirus public health crisis.

IFPMA organized a virtual press briefing with CEOs and top executives who are at the forefront of biopharmaceutical R&D.  The briefing was an opportunity to hear directly from the decision-makers.

This media briefing touched upon:

  • How IFPMA member companies are working to develop solutions to help diagnose, treat and prevent COVID-19?
  • What are the commitments the biopharmaceutical industry is able to make to help tackle COVID-19 and cooperate with governments around the world to keep our communities safe?


David A. Ricks Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Eli Lilly and Company, President of IFPMA

David A. Ricks
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Eli Lilly and Company, President of IFPMA
Dave Ricks is chairman and chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company. He was elected chairman of the company”s board effective June 2017.

A Lilly veteran for more than 20 years, Dave served as president of Lilly BioMedicines from 2012 to 2016.

Previously, he was president of Lilly USA, the company’s largest affiliate, from 2009 to 2012. He served as president and general manager of Lilly China, operating in one of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets, from 2008 to 2009. And he was general manager of Lilly Canada from 2005 to 2008, after roles as director of pharmaceutical marketing and national sales director in that country.

Dave joined Lilly in 1996 as a business development associate and held several management roles in U.S. marketing and sales before moving to Lilly Canada.
Dave earned a bachelor of science degree from Purdue University in 1990 and a master of business administration degree from Indiana University in 1996.

Dave is president of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations IIFPMA. He serves as chairman-elect of the board of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America PhRMA. Dave is also on the boards of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and Adobe.

He chairs the Riley Children ‘s Foundation Board of Governors.

Paul Stoffels, M.D. Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Paul Stoffels is a visionary leader who inspires and drives transformational innovation to bring years of life and quality of life to millions of people around the world.

Paul spearheads the Johnson & Johnson research and product pipeline by leading teams across all our sectors to set the companywide innovation agenda, discovering and developing transformational healthcare solutions. He also is responsible for the safety of all products of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies worldwide, and steers the company’s global public health strategy to make innovative medicines and technologies accessible in the world’s most vulnerable communities and resource-poor settings.

Paul’s commitment to fueling innovation and finding the best science, wherever it exists, is the driving force behind the launch of Johnson & Johnson Innovation in 2013, which he now leads to foster science and technology through strategic partnerships, licensing and acquisitions. Paul also oversees JJDC, the oldest corporate venture fund in the life science industry.

Previously, in his role as Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Paul led the transformation of the pharmaceutical research and development pipeline for Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, driving a fundamental shift in the R&D paradigm that is now a model in the industry for productivity and innovation. Under his leadership, Janssen rejuvenated its pipeline, launching multiple new medicines and making a difference for people all over the world.

Prior to this, Paul held various R&D leadership roles within the pharmaceutical sector of Johnson & Johnson. He joined Johnson & Johnson in 2002 with the acquisition of Virco and Tibotec, where he was Chief Executive Officer of Virco and Chairman of Tibotec, and led the development of several breakthrough products for the treatment of HIV that helped to transform this devastating disease from a death sentence to a chronic and treatable condition.

Paul studied Medicine at the University of Diepenbeek and the University of Antwerp in Belgium and Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. He began his career as a physician in Africa, focusing on HIV and tropical diseases research.

Severin Schwan Chief Executive Officer, Roche Group, Vice-President of IFPMA

Severin Schwan, Roche CEO since 2008, brings a relentless drive for innovation and a passion for personalized healthcare to his role. He joined Roche as a trainee in 1993 and has stayed with the company ever since. He is fascinated with Roche because “we can literally save millions of lives and improve the quality of life of millions of patients and their families”.

Severin Schwan was born in 1967 and is an Austrian citizen. After obtaining a degree in economics and a doctorate in law, Schwan began his career in 1993 at Roche Basel as a finance officer.

Following various management postings to Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, he moved to Singapore as regional head of the Roche Diagnostics business for Asia-Pacific in 2004. In 2006 Severin Schwan became CEO of Roche Diagnostics, the Roche Group’s global diagnostics business.

In March 2008 he was appointed CEO of the Roche Group and he became a member of the Roche Board in 2013.

David Loew Executive Vice President, Sanofi Pasteur

David Loew was appointed Executive Vice President of Sanofi Pasteur in June 2016.

He was previously Head of Global Commercial Operations Sanofi Pasteur.
He joined Sanofi in 2013 as Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Europe, responsible for the pharmaceutical business across 38 countries.

Before working for Sanofi, David held various responsibilities at Roche over a period of 20 years. His last position was as Region Head Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa and Global Chief Marketing Officer for the pharmaceuticals division. His remit included the responsibility for all therapeutic areas of Roche, including life cycle and global brand teams, the global medical affairs function, health economics and pricing.

Prior to that, he led the Oncology division for Roche and held sales and marketing positions in multiple countries including Austria, Switzerland, France, Mexico and the US. He started his career in the US at Coopers & Lybrand and Hewlett Packard.

David Loew holds a Master’s degree in economics and business administration from the University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland.

Rajeev Venkayya Rajeev Venkayya, President, Global Vaccines Business Unit, Takeda

Rajeev Venkayya is President of the Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, where he leads a vertically-integrated business developing vaccines for dengue, norovirus and Zika.

He serves as an independent member of the board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is funding and coordinating several vaccine development programs for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). He is also on the board of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. Venkayya is currently co-leading Takeda’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, given his previous experience at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Biodefense. In this role, he was the principal author of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza (2005), and his office led the development and execution of the companion Implementation Plan (2006). His team conceived the strategy of early, coordinated implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions to slow the spread of a pandemic virus, now known as the “flattening the curve,” that was described in the US Government’s guidelines on community mitigation of pandemic influenza (2007). These guidelines were updated in 2017 to reflect the lessons of the 2009-H1N1 outbreak, and the concepts therein are being implemented or considered by governments around the world to slow the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Prior to joining Takeda, Dr. Venkayya served as Director of Vaccine Delivery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program, where he was responsible for the foundations top two priorities of polio eradication and the introduction of new vaccines into developing countries through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. He also served on the board of Gavi.

Dr. Venkayya trained in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where he also served on the faculty. He was a resident and Chief Medical Resident in internal medicine at the University of Michigan. He received his B.S./M.D. from the Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha honorary medical society.
Dr. Venkayya lives in Boston with his wife Viktoria and their two sons.

Thomas Cueni Director General, IFPMA

Thomas B. Cueni is Director General of IFPMA, the global association of pharmaceutical research companies, based in Geneva and is Secretary of the global Biopharmaceutical CEO Roundtable (BCR). In this capacity, Thomas Cueni was instrumental in creating the AMR Action Fund.

A ground-breaking partnership, launched in 2020, that has raised nearly $1 billion to bring 2-4 new antibiotics to patients by 2030. These treatments are urgently needed to address the rapid rise of antibiotic-resistant infections – also called antimicrobial resistance, or AMR.

Thomas Cueni represents the innovative biopharmaceutical industry on the ACT Accelerator, the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a unique global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

Thomas Cueni is Chair of the Business at OECD Health Committee, and also serves on the Board of Directors of the City Cancer Challenge (CCan), an initiative aiming to improve cancer care in major cities in low- and middle-income countries. Cueni also serves as Industry Co-Chair of the APEC Biopharmaceutical Working Group on Ethics.

Furthermore, he is Chair of the Board of the cross-sectoral AMR Industry Alliance, a group committed to tackling the threat of antimicrobial resistance, which includes more than 100 companies and associations representing Rx pharma, generics, biotech, and diagnostics.

Prior to joining IFPMA he was Secretary General of Interpharma, the association of pharmaceutical research companies in Switzerland, and for many years was a member of the Board and Chair of a key committee of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

Prior to his appointment with Interpharma, Thomas Cueni had a career as a journalist, inter alia as London correspondent for the “Basler Zeitung” and “Der Bund”, and he served as a Swiss career diplomat with postings in Paris (OECD) and Vienna (IAEA, UNIDO).

He studied at the University of Basle, the London School of Economics, and the Geneva Graduate Institute for International Studies, and has Master degrees in economics (University of Basel) and politics (London School of Economics, LSE).


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This was originally published in Pharma Boardroom on Wednesday, 1 April, 2020. The CEOs and top executives, David Ricks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Eli Lilly & Co and IFPMA President, Severin Schwan, Chief Executive Officer, Roche, Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson, David Loew, Executive Vice-President, Sanofi Pasteur and Rajeev Venkayya, President,...

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As part of the global health community, biopharmaceutical companies are committed to playing the greatest possible role in the global response to COVID-19.

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