• World Biz Magazine

NEIL MCFARLANE, CEO OF ADAMAS PHARMA - INTERVIEW WITH TOP 100 INNOVATION CEO




NEIL MCFARLANE, CEO ADAMAS PHARMACEUTICALS HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021. THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.



Neil joined Adamas as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors in September 2019. He brings over two decades of global biopharmaceutical and life sciences experience delivering value to patients suffering from serious illnesses. Neil has delivered growth in both specialty and orphan products in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Retrophin, Inc. with principal responsibility for global commercial operations, corporate development, patient services, and program and alliance management. Previously he held executive and general management positions at leading biopharmaceutical companies, including UCB, Genzyme, and Sangstat Medical Corporation. Neil served as an officer and enlisted soldier in the United States Army Reserves. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Nursing from the University of Florida.





"At Adamas, we are driven by a deep sense of purpose – to make everyday life significantly better for people affected by neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease."


How is Adamas elevating its industry?


At Adamas, we are driven by a deep sense of purpose – to make everyday life significantly better for people affected by neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Neurological disorders are an area of high unmet patient need, and developing new therapies to address these diseases continues to be a challenging area for our industry. The Adamas team is dedicated to innovating and developing therapeutics that can really make a meaningful difference in daily lives of people who live with the challenges of neurological disorders.



Why is the Adamas approach crucial at this time?


Adamas has developed GOCOVRI, the first and only medication approved to treat both OFF (stiffness, rigidity, and tremors occurring between medication doses) or dyskinesia (sudden uncontrolled movements) motor complications in Parkinson’s disease. GOCOVRI changes a treatment paradigm that has traditionally treated either OFF or dyskinesia through adjustments in medications which leaves patients having to make a trade-off between one state or another. These motor complications can be very distressing and isolating for people with Parkinson’s disease and the reduction in their GOOD ON time can significantly affect their relationships and daily lives. The special release formulation of GOCOVRI enables it to be taken once daily at bedtime, which then provides an initial lag and a slow rise in concentration during the night, resulting in a high concentration of the medication from the morning and throughout the waking day when patients need it most to control episodes of life-disrupting OFF and dyskinesia.



"We believe the future of medicine depends on our close collaboration with the patients we serve, so we can continue to make better therapies that make a significant difference in patients’ everyday lives. At Adamas, our work extends beyond our portfolio and pipeline; we are committed to serving patients and care partners in a meaningful way."


Share with us some of the trends you can see in the markets you operate in.


We believe the future of medicine depends on our close collaboration with the patients we serve, so we can continue to make better therapies that make a significant difference in patients’ everyday lives. At Adamas, our work extends beyond our portfolio and pipeline; we are committed to serving patients and care partners in a meaningful way. We have listened and learned from patients and we partner with advocacy organizations to jointly develop programs and resources that make a difference to peoples’ lives – for the person living with the disease, their care partner, family, and the broader neurology community.


Many of our patient advocacy partners have been working with us long-term, and we have established a foundation of trust, respect, and authenticity that reflects our company culture. This approach helps bring the voice of the person living with Parkinson’s and their perspective directly into our company, culture, and our people. Putting the patient first shapes our strategic focus and the execution of our priorities and key programs.



How is your industry moving forward after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?


We all had to pivot during COVID, and like many businesses over the last year we considered our objectives and how best we could work around the constraints caused by the pandemic. I’m proud that in addition to working to keeping our employees and their families safe, the Adamas team was able to work so well under these constraints by developing several new initiatives in our GOCOVRI program. We implemented a new trial program, and a new e-prescribing option, which streamlined how physicians working remotely wrote prescriptions. We also launched a new remote team of Field Account Specialists to support patient access to GOCOVRI. Our team has also successfully worked to launch GOCOVRI’s expanded label for OFF in addition to dyskinesia as well as new initiatives that enable us to ensure that both patients and physicians were well supported in their management of Parkinson’s disease and their ability to access treatment that could make a real difference in their day to day lives. We implemented a new trial program, and a new e-prescribing option, which streamlined how physicians working remotely wrote prescriptions. We also launched a new remote team of Field Account Specialists to support patient access.



"First and foremost, what drives me is dedication to our mission and the talented team we have built to execute on it. I took a non-traditional approach to becoming a public biopharmaceutical company CEO, spending the early part of my career in the Army and in nursing, which has afforded me a slightly different perspective and the experience of being part of some incredibly effective teams."


What drives you as an innovative leader and entrepreneur?


First and foremost, what drives me is dedication to our mission and the talented team we have built to execute on it. I took a non-traditional approach to becoming a public biopharmaceutical company CEO, spending the early part of my career in the Army and in nursing, which has afforded me a slightly different perspective and the experience of being part of some incredibly effective teams. I have learned the value of a high functioning collaborative team that is passionate about the mission but agile enough to flex when plans change. Today at Adamas, my journey continues with a team of people who are incredibly passionate about working together to improve the lives of patients.



What's next for Adamas Pharmaceuticals?


With the recent announcement of the agreement for Supernus to acquire Adamas we may be moving into a new phase for the company; however, we will continue to focus on the commercialization of GOCOVRI and our mission to make everyday life significantly better for people affected by neurological disorders.



Talk to us about the diversity in your industry.


Throughout my career, I have admired leaders who embraced diversity of thought and input prior to forming a plan. I endeavor to keep this in mind as I build teams within my own organization. I value and recruit people who bring diverse thinking and skills and who celebrate the growth and success of their fellow team members. At Adamas, we understand and appreciate the value of different backgrounds and points of view, and our executive team and board reflect this diversity. Adamas is a proud signatory of BIOCOM’s California’s diversity, equity and inclusion pledge, and we support a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for our current and future workforce, and recognize the value of individuals with diverse backgrounds, talents, experiences, and perspectives. I also believe that one must continue to learn and so we recently held a series of diversity, equity and inclusion educational seminars for our employees led by an expert consultant.



Adamas Pharmaceuticals

Adamas is a fully integrated pharmaceutical company experienced in drug discovery, development, and delivery of treatments for neurological diseases. We are driven by a deep sense of purpose – to make everyday life significantly better for people affected by neurological disorders.


www.adamaspharma.com