EMD Serono promotes Craig Millian to SVP of neurology and immunology

Millian is excited about the opportunity to lead the team behind the blockbuster interferon Rebif, which treats multiple sclerosis relapses.

There are several elements that excite Craig Millian about his new role as EMD Serono's SVP of neurology and immunology. This includes the opportunity to lead the team behind the blockbuster interferon Rebif, which treats multiple sclerosis relapses, and being involved in developing and advancing compounds in neurology and immunology. Rebif made $1.98 billion (€ 1.8 billion)  in sales in 2015.

“There are a lot of great developments happening in the MS space, which are important for the patient and medical community,” said Millian. “This ongoing advancement in the MS landscape will require our organization to continue to make a compelling evidence-based argument on how our therapies fit best within the evolving treatment paradigm.”

See also: Analysts: Payers moving to address MS market as prices rise

With an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from New York University, Millian spent his formative professional years in marketing roles at Sanofi and Pfizer.

What attracted him about the pharma industry was the impact it had on people, the exposure he would get to cutting-edge science, and getting to be innovative on both the commercial and scientific sides of the industry, he said.

“A particularly memorable experience was leading the U.S. commercial team [of Pfizer] for Lipitor when it was the largest pharma brand and facing some very intense challenges from new competitors,” said Millian.

Eventually, he moved from Big Pharma to emerging pharma, helping Vertex Pharmaceuticals build its commercial road map as its product pipeline matured to the commercial stage.

And in 2010, he joined EMD Serono, the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, as VP of marketing in endocrinology and fertility. What attracted him to the company was that even though it was a mid-sized biopharma it retained the good qualities of both large pharma and a small biotech.

See also: EMD Serono updates birds and bees

“It is a company with the resources to advance projects and compete effectively in the market but not so large that one feels as they can't make an impact on the business,” Millian explained. “I'd characterize the working environment as collaborative, results-oriented, and patient-centric.”

As he's advanced in his career, Millian said he's spent more time and energy learning how he can positively influence team performance and culture.

“I've found that I have been most successful in supporting my team and our goals when my values are fully integrated into my leadership style,” said Millian.

His advice to those starting their careers in the pharmaceutical industry is to pay close attention to who you're working with and for.

“Having access to great minds and great mentors is more important than salary and title, particularly early on in one's career,” said Millian. “I would also tell people to be flexible in taking roles that may sometimes be lateral moves but may give you knowledge that can be leveraged in future roles.”


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