Daily Discoveries. A neuroscientist and neuropathologist by training, Dan is responsible for development across all of Lilly’s products – from clinical trials through approvals – specifically working within the areas of oncology, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, immunology and pain management. In this role, he oversees several thousand scientists as they turn molecules into medicines, and implement the clinical trials to test them.
A Driving Force. “We focus our efforts at the intersection of breaking science and unmet medical need – for example in immunology, which is changing patient expectations across the board,” says Dan. “The medicines that are available for diseases like psoriasis are truly game changers for patients. The goal of developing medicines that allow individuals to look back five years from now and wonder what life was like before these treatments existed – that’s what drives me.”
A lot of Dan’s work also focuses on Alzheimer’s disease, which he notes as another driving force behind his efforts. “Ten years ago, a lot of what we do today wasn’t even remotely possibly,” Dan says. “Today, we can see the fundamental causes of the disease with advanced brain imaging, and then follow patients over time and see if experimental medicines reduce those causes or not. The ability to do this has produced remarkable results.”
Challenges, Chances and Looking Forward. Unsurprisingly, Dan points to the ongoing investment of time and energy – often without a successful outcome – as a challenging factor. “With that in mind though, our industry is motivated by a desire to help people who are suffering from diseases, by creating the drugs that change expectations around what it means to live with those very diseases.”
When asked about his favorite part of the work he does Dan points to the inspiring challenges that come with the drug development process. “I enjoy working on challenging scientific problems, but I’m even more motivated because the work we do will ultimately make sick people feel better. There is no greater privilege than to be a part of an industry that can do that,” says Dan.