Matt Regan

BioLeader Interview – Matt Regan, Chief Executive Officer, Micreos Pharmaceuticals (February 2023)

  • Senior, international, Healthcare leader with 30-years of research-based Biopharmaceutical & Medical device experience with Global leaders such as Abbott, AbbVie and Novo Nordisk. Currently CEO with the Clinical stage Biotech Company Micreos Pharma.
  • Broad, diverse experience having held leadership roles in Manufacturing, Engineering, Supply Chain management, HR management, Research & Development as well as very significant commercial leadership roles at the Country and Regional level. Authentic, values-driven leader with the ability to inspire large organizations to transform, to build new capabilities, and to raise the performance bar while developing talent through thoughtful people development.
  • Culturally adapt having lived & worked in 7 countries with a strong professional background with an Executive MBA focused as well as a primary Degree in Polymer Science (BSc) with 1st class honours.

Key milestones in your career journey to date?

  • From my engineering roots, inspired leaders encouraged me to move cross functionally from Manufacturing/CMC at a Plant level to Commercial Leadership at a Country / European level to Company / CEO leadership of a Pharma Biotech.
  • Running AbbVie in the UK as MD from 2013.
  • Turning around the performance of Novo Nordisk as Head of Europe to deliver double digit growth after 15-years of no growth.
  • Moving into R&D, setting up Micreos Pharma as an independent Pharmaceutical Biotech company, domiciled in Switzerland, as a spin out from a Dutch diversified company.

Who has had the greatest influence over your career?

  • Helen Maye (HR in Abbott) who initially hired me in 1993.
  • Pascale Richetta (Head of Europe and Canada in AbbVie).
  • Olivier Bouhon (Head of Europe in Abbott who gave me my first Country Level GM job as GM for the Baltic States).

Your approach to spotting and developing high performing teams?

  • First and foremost, identifying the right attitude (ethos and teamwork). Everything else is learnable!
  • Building complementary skills in high performance teams to leverage the greatest strengths of individuals so they perform at their best.
  • Ensuring that there is a compelling and motivating mission & purpose for the company – to sustain the team through setbacks and challenges and to keep the team grounded when things are going very well!

What top three attributes make an outstanding and relevant leader in today’s world?

  • The ability to:
    • inspire individuals & teams with a compelling and relevant vision, mission & purpose.
    • communicate this vision with sincere conviction, authenticity & with reasons to believe.
    • build the competencies required to take the organization towards its mission.

How does your company create a culture of continual learning, innovation and curiosity?

  • The “empowerment” of individuals and teams to embrace continuous, lifelong learning is critical and then creating the “space” in their job roles to enable this self-learning & personal growth to take place. And then ensuring that these learnings are anchored in moving the company mission forward where the best ideas & approaches always win!
  • Focusing on building a “culture of trust” where the individual is trusted to “do what is right” for the enterprise, based on their functional knowledge and their alignment with company values.
  • Hardwiring the company values around continuous learning into the “performance feedback cycle” so that employees understand that this is truly authentic and that the senior leaders “walk the talk” in their leadership of the organization.

Can you tell me something about your company that you would like to share with the PIR community?

  • Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR) is probably the greatest threat to modern medicine and the huge improvements in life expectancy realised over the last 70-80 years.
  • Micreos Pharma will be a key player in helping to bring new medicines and new modalities of action to mankind that will help to address this significant threat to humanity starting in very specific, high impact medical indications over the next 5-years.

How has your company created a more diverse culture in the last 2 years; and what do future challenges look like?

  • Micreos Pharma is a new company that is less than 2-years old.
  • But we have very quickly pivoted from being a company with a largely Dutch heritage to a Swiss domiciled company having a truly international mindset with employees joining us from both large Pharma and small biotech’s with over 10 different nationalities in our team currently.
  • Diversity of thought and experience is highly appreciated and valued by our company.

What will be the biggest technological transformation in your sector over the next 5 years?

  • Using AI and computational power to improve the productivity of Drug Discovery and Drug Development to maximise target identification and minimise R&D attrition rates.

What advice would you give the next Minister for Science, Research & Innovation given the stated intention by the Conservative Government to grow these sectors by 1000% by 2031?

  • Creating the right commercial environment is critical for the life sciences industry to thrive in the UK (and elsewhere). Traditionally, governments (including the UK government) have incentivised R&D investments – but they also need to take great care of the evolving commercial environment to ensure that medicines developed from this support are quickly made available to patients to improve their health.
  • This is where the current challenge lies – ensuring that breakthrough innovations are made available to patients at an appropriate price that recognised the innovation of the new therapy.
  • Pharma companies will always take a holistic view when it comes to selecting where to make strategic investments; and governments need to do the same to ensure that the update of new innovations are supported as well as the R&D necessary to develop these innovations!

What is your hidden talent or something that might surprise others about you?

  • I am ambidextrous!

What advice would you give your 23-year old self?

  • Believe in yourself! I had wonderful mentors – especially Helen Maye – who truly believed in me and supported me throughout my career. But as a 23-year old I probably did not have the confidence to believe that all this was actually possible!
  • Do your very best in every role, strive to build broad, cross functional competence (& curiosity!) required to make a real difference at the enterprise level. Focus on building competence and having patience to build cross functional understanding vs chasing promotions!
  • Staying up-to-date and relevant is key as todays skills can soon become outdated!!!

Words of Wisdom?

  • Best Advice I was given:
    • Focus on lifelong learning and accept roles that take you outside of your comfort zone!!!
  • Advice I’d give:
    • Work hard, seek-out new challenges, and never compromise on your values!
  • What I wish I’d known:
    • Just how amazing it is to work in an industry where you can make a profound difference to humanity!

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