Muscular Dystrophy Association taps Lynn O'Connor Vos as CEO

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The Muscular Dystrophy Association has named Lynn O'Connor Vos, previously global CEO of WPP agency ghg | greyhealth group, as president and chief executive of the organization.

Vos succeeds interim president and CEO Kristine Welker, who resumes her volunteer role as a member of MDA's board of directors. In February, Welker took on the interim position when Steve Derks stepped down.

In her new role, Vos oversees more than 800 staffers based in the association's Chicago headquarters, as well as regional offices in the U.S.

See also: Lynn O'Connor Vos to leave ghg; Erin Byrne named CEO

“We are grateful to have Lynn onboard,” said R. Rodney Howell, chairman of the board, in a news release. “She is joining MDA at an incredibly important time for our organization, when the pipeline of promise in research is yielding more new drug approvals than ever before.”

Sarepta's Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug Exondys51 was approved last year, and in May so was Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America's Radicava, which is the first FDA-approved drug to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the U.S. in more than 20 years.

One of Vos' key focuses will be to expand MDA's existing patient resources, which includes information about care plans and reimbursement.

See also: Nearly every $100,000 drug approved in the last three years was for a rare disease

“We're quite riveted by the concept of building a bigger platform where we can be the go-to place to find assistance for these conditions, and have people on the line who are living their lives and succeeding with the condition,” said Vos. “It's an opportunity to teach people to be more independent with these conditions.”

Vos, who spent 23 years at ghg, said she felt it was “the right time to use all the tools in [her] toolbox,” which includes her expertise in pharmaceutical and digital marketing, medical education, and clinical education.

“I'm all about transformation and innovation,” said Vos. “I felt it was the right time in my career to apply all that energy and expertise to make a difference. The exciting thing about MDA is some of the research they're doing is really starting to pay out with some good drugs on the market for [spinal muscular atrophy].”

See also: Orphan drugs face criticism on prices — and from patients

Vos, a former nurse, said the leadership role will also include fundraising for muscular dystrophy, ALS, and other neuromuscular diseases.

“What I love about this is I'm getting back into close proximity into patient care and research, as well as marketing, so it's a beautiful combination for me,” she said.

Vos left ghg in August, making her the second CEO of a WPP health agency to depart in 2017. Erin Byrne, formerly ghg's EVP and chief client officer, was named CEO of ghg in the Americas.

See also: Using humor: Why pharma doesn't need to fear social media

Also this week, Inception Companies, which provides technology services to the healthcare and financial industries, said it had appointed former Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide CEO Matt Giegerich as CEO of two of its business units — virtual meetings company Inception Digital and its video production company Kampfire.

Giegerich left the WPP agency in February after the holding company restructured its healthcare agencies under the WPP Health & Wellness brand.

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