Ed Cowen, new managing director of Medicus International New York, says his role requires him to be “the second leading expert in everything. I need to know how to get the information, tap into the resources, and inspire people to get the work done.” Given the industry’s move away from blockbuster drugs into more personalized medicine, Cowen’s broad view of the healthcare industry promises to be a big plus for the scientific-communications and med-education boutique agency, part of the Publicis Healthcare Group.

“Personalized medicine means you have to know a great deal about the patient and the product,” he asserts, “It’s not one size fits all. When you have 100 different products to fit that one patient, you need to know a lot more.”

Before moving to the agency side, Cowen worked for Cornell University as director of HIV clinical trials. At Cornell, he began to appreciate the significance that scientific communications has for specialists in making prescribing decisions. “As the industry moves toward the specialty medicine model, and companies are investing more heavily in niche products for smaller groups of patients, the need for larger marketing budgets is going to change,” he notes, “The age of the big primary care blockbuster is mostly in the past. The specialists that are going to be using these new products will require a much deeper level of engagement, and much more high-science content.”

Cowen notes that his background in both clinical research and the agency world has taught him a few things that helped shape his career. “You need to have self-awareness because you can’t do everything yourself. You need to know what you’re good at,” he says, adding that “I’ve also learned not to obsess over things. You have to know when to let go.”

Outside the office, Ed enjoys spending time with his son and partner at their vacation home in the Catskills.