Upward Move: Chris Guiffre

Chris Guiffre
Chris Guiffre
SVP and Chief Business Officer, Cerulean Pharmaceuticals

For Chris Guiffre, his new role as chief business officer at Cerulean Pharmaceuticals isn't so much a job as “an evolution of a goal to actually make a difference in cancer. Anyone who tells you they're going to cure cancer is being naïve or arrogant. I'm never going to cure cancer. I'm not sure the industry is going to cure cancer. But there is a lot of room for progress. I hope that Cerulean will have a prominent role in making that progress.”

Guiffre has worked at Cubist, Alvos Therapeutics, and Hydra Biosciences. When asked what he's learned helping to bring new therapies to market at these startups, he has a ready answer. “It's the value of persistence. During my time at Cubist, we suffered an enormous setback due to a failed Phase 3 clinical trial. Just about everybody gave up on us, and instead of giving up on ourselves, the drug (Cubicin), and the company, we built Cubist into an industry success story.”

Cubicin, an antibiotic approved to treat staph infections, would go on to improve thousands of patient's lives thanks to that persistence. And as Guiffre takes on a new challenge at Cerulean, his optimism and passion is similarly palpable. “Cerulean's objective is to develop nanopharmaceuticals as a new class of tumor targeted cancer therapy. They address a central obstacle in cancer treatment, which is directing therapy to the site of the disease as opposed to systematically attacking both tumor and healthy tissue. We can achieve what we call ‘functional targeting', the holy grail of oncology drug development.”

With the economy stagnating, Guiffre's story of persistence is a guide to navigating the uncertain times ahead. To those entering the workplace, Guiffre says: “Don't be daunted by the current economic environment, it's the nature of economic cycles that there are up and down times, use the early years of your career to find out what you love doing, sharpen your skills, and let your passion fuel your success.”

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