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Innovation Is… with David Pyott of Allergan, Inc

October 30, 2013
The term innovation is thrown around more often than Peyton Manning’s name during Fantasy Football season. But if any industry can truly capture the essence of innovation, it is the biotech industry. Innovation is inherent in what we do – from curing or treating illnesses that were once considered a death sentence to feeding a growing population to helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil through the production of biofuels. But what is innovation, and how can we inspire other industries to be more innovative? We asked a few of our top CEOs to share their perspective – what they told us will surprise and inspire you. Check it out.

David Pyott, Chairman of the Board; President and Chief Executive Officer, Allergan, Inc

Q:  Can you share an example of innovation?

A: Taking a drug that was originally developed to treat rejection of organ transplants and discovering a new use for that drug in treating patients suffering from reduced ability to produce tears due to inflammation of the eye.  It took 10 years of hard work, and is, in my opinion, a great example of innovation.”

Q: What inspires you to be innovative?

A: I am inspired by the potential to make a difference in people’s lives around the world by reducing the burden of disease and the pain and inconvenience of treatment. Innovation should be focused on harnessing new insights and creating a foundation based on people-driven performance.

Q: What drives innovation in the industry?

A: Two things – Motivation and fear of competition. Motivation is the basis for harnessing new insights and breakthroughs in science. These days, we try to couple these breakthroughs with diagnostic tools as we gradually start personalizing medicine. The second part of the equation is fear of competition, and how it can drive people to performance. I am actually in favor of generics as I think they are good for society and I think the clock that is ticking is a great motivator.

Q: Who is your innovation idol?

A: Steve Jobs – no explanation required. The second is Herb Boyer, founder of Genentech. That is very personal for me because he just retired from Allergan’s Board after 20 years.  He is 75. Of course, we don’t need to enumerate what he did but I got to know him very personally since I joined the company.

David E.I. Pyott joined Allergan on January 1, 1998. During his tenure, Mr. Pyott has transformed Allergan from a small eye care business to a global specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company with leadership positions in six medical specialties. Access Mr. Pyott’s full bio here