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Countdown to Launch - Getting it Right the First Time

Tuesday, February 14th, 9:00am-9:55am

Over the last year, new product launches have been met with varying degrees of success. One factor is clear: The “home-stretch” is no longer filing to approval. The path from PDUFA to profit is fraught with challenging market decisions that can make or break a biotech company. How can management maintain the company’s momentum and ensure a successful launch?


  • William Ho, Public Investment Director, New Leaf Venture Partners


  • Steven Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer, Theracrine, Inc
  • Pedro Lichtinger, President & CEO, Optimer Pharmaceuticals
  • John A. Orwin, Chief Executive Officer, Affymax, Inc.
  • Timothy P. Walbert, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Pharma, Inc.

Who's Who

William Ho
Public Investment Director, New Leaf Venture Partners
William Ho joined New Leaf in January 2011 as a Public Investment Director. Prior to joining NLV, Will was the senior healthcare strategist on a derivatives desk of ICAP plc, the London based broker-dealer. He joined the company from Bank of America, where he was the senior research analyst covering the biotechnology industry. Previously he was also at Piper Jaffray & Co. where he was a research analyst covering the biotechnology and life sciences tools sectors. Will entered equity research from an operational role at CuraGen Corporation, a genomics era biopharmaceutical company where he was responsible for financial and operational analysis including the operating budget and several of the company’s restructurings. Earlier in his career, Will was an associate in the health care investment banking group at SG Cowen. In 2008, Will was named the "Best Up-and-Comer" in the biotechnology sector by Institutional Investor in its All-America Research Team rankings.

Will received a master of business administration degree from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry, with honors, from McMaster University in Canada.

Steven Kelly
President and Chief Executive Officer, Theracrine, Inc
Steven Kelly has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for Theracrine, Inc. since June 2011. Mr. Mr. Kelly brings to Theracrine a two decade long accomplished track record in oncology drug development, commercialization and business development.  Prior to joining Theracrine, Mr. Kelly was Chief Commercial Officer for BioVex, a leader in the field of oncolytic viruses, and was responsible for leading the company's commercial efforts.  BioVex was sold to Amgen in a transaction valued at $1 billion.  Prior to BioVex, Mr. Kelly was founder and CEO of Innovive Pharmaceuticals, an oncology company with four products under development.  Prior to that Mr. Kelly held senior roles at Sanofi Synthelabo Oncology, where he was responsible for launching Eloxatin®; IDEC Pharmaceuticals where he was responsible for launching Rituxan®; and Amgen where he held a variety of commercial and manufacturing roles.  Mr. Kelly received his B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Oregon and his M.B.A. from Cornell University. 

Pedro Lichtinger
President & CEO, Optimer Pharmaceuticals
Pedro Lichtinger has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for Optimer Pharmaceuticals since May 2010. Prior to joining Optimer, Mr. Lichtinger held several key positions with Pfizer, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, from 1995 to 2009, including President of Pfizer’s Global Primary Care Business Unit, in which capacity he oversaw operations in North America, Europe, Korea, and Australia. Prior to this position, he served as Pfizer’s Area President in Europe in which capacity he oversaw all pharmaceutical products including primary care, oncology, specialty and generic. Prior to this position he served as Pfizer’s President of Global Animal Health Business, and Regional President Europe Animal Health. Before joining Pfizer, Mr. Lichtinger was an executive of Smith Kline Beecham, a pharmaceutical company, last serving as Senior Vice President Europe Animal Health. Mr. Lichtinger currently serves on the board of directors of BioTime, Inc., a publicly-traded biotechnology company focused on blood plasma volume expanders and regenerative medicine. Mr. Lichtinger holds an MBA degree from the Wharton School of Business and an Industrial Engineering degree from the National University of Mexico.

Timothy P. Walbert
Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Pharma, Inc.
Mr. Walbert is chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Horizon Pharma, Inc. since July 2008. Previously, Mr. Walbert served as president, chief executive officer and director of IDM Pharma, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company which was acquired by Takeda America Holdings, Inc., or Takeda, in June 2009. From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Walbert served as executive vice president, commercial operations of NeoPharm, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology. From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Walbert served as divisional vice president and general manager, immunology/biologics at Abbott, leading the global launch of HUMIRA, which attained over six billion in 2010 sales. From 1998 to 2001, Mr. Walbert served as director, Celebrex North America and arthritis team leader, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Canada at G.D. Searle & Company. Mr. Walbert serves on the Board of Directors of Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Inc., XOMA Ltd., the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (iBIO) and the Greater Chicago Arthritis Foundation. Mr. Walbert received his B.A. in business from Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pennsylvania.