FAIRFIELD, NJ, February 14, 2006 - The Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) has named Sue Desmond-Hellmann, M.D. President, Product Development, Genentech, as the 2006 Woman of the Year. Desmond-Hellmann is credited with possessing extraordinary leadership, unwavering compassion and with helping to lead Genentech toward the development of new therapeutics for cancer and other serious diseases, which have the potential to change the practice of medicine.
Desmond-Hellmann will be honored at the 17th Annual HBA Woman of the Year luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, at the New York Hilton. The luncheon, which has become one of the industry’s most anticipated events, will also honor one Honorable Mentor and one Star Volunteer, as well as dozens of Rising Stars, who have been recognized by HBA member companies as future industry leaders.
Criteria for Woman of the Year include success in the healthcare industry, strong leadership capabilities, proven mentoring skills and contributions to the community at large.
“Sue has made an amazing impact in her corporate role at Genentech, and, at the same time, remains dedicated to patient care, a critical combination in today’s healthcare environment,” said Debra L. Newton, President, Newton Edge and HBA President. “Her colleagues credit her with making the world a better place to live. Sue also is a mentor to many within her company, and through her commitment to HBA and other networking opportunities, she is a role model to many others as well.”
As President, Desmond-Hellmann is responsible for Genentech’s Medical Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Product Development, Development Sciences, Quality, Business Development and Strategic Pipeline Development functions. She is also a member of Genentech’s executive committee. The founder of the biotechnology industry and known as a model of innovation, Genentech has experienced an unprecedented string of clinical trial successes in recent years. The company is now the leading provider of anti-tumor therapeutics in the United States. Desmond-Hellmann, an oncologist by training, is widely recognized within her company and by outside analysts as one of the key drivers of these successes.
“I am humbled by this recognition and, as HBA Woman of the Year, I am grateful for the opportunity to reach out to so many women in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries,” said Desmond-Hellmann.
A determined leader, Desmond-Hellmann is highly respected by her employees and colleagues. “She always puts the patient first, and her integrity is relentless,” said Pamela Yanchik, R&D Finance, Genentech. “She is both a teacher and a student, and she remains focused on innovation for the future.”
“Sue is instrumental in leading all of our development programs. She is an outstanding leader and has proven repeatedly her capability to make wise business decisions,” wrote Mary O’Donovan, a business analyst at Genentech, in her nomination of Desmond- Hellmann for the 2006 HBA Woman of the Year.
Desmond-Hellmann was named to FORTUNE magazine’s “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list for the fourth time in 2005, when she was also included on the Wall Street Journal’s “50 Woman to Watch” list. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
Prior to taking her first job in industry, Desmond-Hellmann and her husband spent two years as visiting faculty at the Uganda Cancer Institute studying AIDS and cancer. After returning to the States, she spent two years in private oncology practice, which helped shaped her career path. Her frustration over the lack of treatment options for her cancer patients was a big factor in her decision to join the research side of health care, in an effort to bring more cancer therapies to market.
A native of Reno, Nevada, Desmond-Hellmann earned her undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno. She did her house staff and fellowship training at the University of California, San Francisco; and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Oncology. She also holds a master’s in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.
Click here for highlights from the 2006 HBA Woman of the Year Luncheon