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ARIAD Pharmaceuticals

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company: ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Cambridge, MA
Entry Submitted By: Berry & Company Public Relations
Company Description: ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is an integrated global oncology company focused on transforming the lives of cancer patients with breakthrough medicines. ARIAD is working to develop new medicines to advance the treatment of various forms of chronic and acute leukemia, lung cancer and other difficult-to-treat cancers. In December 2012 the U.S. FDA approved Iclusig™ (ponatinib), developed by ARIAD
Nomination Category: Management Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Executive of the Year - Pharmaceuticals

Nomination Title: Harvey J. Berger, MD, Chairman and CEO

Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since January 1 2012 (up to 525 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:


Harvey Berger – a physician-scientist – started ARIAD more than 20 years ago with a simple but daring vision: to build a global therapeutics business using then-unproven methods for discovering innovative medicines based on the promise of cell signaling.  He was the sole employee at ARIAD for nearly a year as he initiated groundbreaking work to develop new therapies based on this innovative drug discovery model. 

The name ARIAD comes from the Greek mythological character Ariadne, who provided Theseus with a spool of thread so he could find his way out of the elaborate labyrinth after killing the Minotaur. The name reflects the company’s focus on development of products able to weave through various molecular-communication pathways to target and destroy disease cells.
Dr. Berger brought together leading experts from a variety of disciplines to identify the best research platform to overcome the challenge of combining small molecules and cell signaling. He and his collaborators began to map out the scientific basis for an alternative way of discovering drugs, focused not on screening millions of compounds, but on using cutting-edge computational technology to understand the structure of molecular targets and attack them in the most effective and efficient way possible. In order to move forward, Dr. Berger needed to raise more money than any biotechnology start-up had done previously.  He successfully raised $46 million the single largest financing round for a biotech startup at the time.
ARIAD’s work throughout the 1990s set the foundation for what blossomed after 2000, when Dr. Berger made what he considers the most important decision in ARIAD’s history.  He saw an opportunity to take the scientific engine that ARIAD had built and focus it entirely on oncology.

Today ARIAD is a leading biotechnology company with about 350 employees and a market capitalization of over $4 billion.  FDA approval for Iclusig, a breakthrough treatment with CML and Ph+ ALL, was achieved because of Dr. Berger’s perseverance nd the efforts of an outstanding team of researchers and scientists.

In addition to the approval of Iclusig, ARIAD also advanced a second investigational compound, AP26113, through a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.  The company is also focused on broadening the development of Iclusig and started the Phase 3 EPIC trial of Iclusig in patients with newly diagnosed CML.

From the beginning, Dr. Berger has been committed to building a fully integrated global business.  He made the critical strategic decision to retain the U.S. and global commercial rights of Iclusig.  Where others focus on the difficulty of building a global infrastructure, Dr. Berger sees this as the only way, ultimately, to build a sustainable and profitable business.
In the second half of 2012 ARIAD established European headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.  With the launch of Iclusig underway in the U.S. and EU approval expected later this year, 2013 will be another exciting year for the company.  Dr. Berger remains committed to developing new drugs for cancer patients with limited treatment options.  Patient photos line the walls of the U.S. company headquarters in Cambridge, and their stories continually motivate employees to continue the research focus at ARIAD.

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Provide a brief (up to 125 words) biography about the nominee:

Dr. Berger founded ARIAD more than twenty years ago and he is the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President. From 1986 to 1991, Dr. Berger held a series of executive management positions at Centocor, Inc., a biotechnology company, including Executive Vice President and President, Research and Development Division. He has also held senior academic and administrative appointments at Emory University, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania and was an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, Inc. Dr. Berger received his A.B. degree in Biology from Colgate University and his M.D. degree from Yale University School of Medicine and did further medical and research training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Yale-New Haven Hospital.