Name: Gail Schulze
Current Company: Zosano
Title: CEO & Executive Chair of the Board
Profile: Gail Schulze joined Zosano in May 2008. The Fremont, CA-based company is developing a transdermal microprojection delivery system, a small patch and applicator that is designed as an alternative to vaccines administered with needles.
Prior to taking the top spot at Zosano, Gail was the CEO of YM Biosciences US. Her resume also includes a stint as CEO of Eximias Pharmaceutical and COO of Aventis Behring. She's sat on the board of Cerus since 2007.
1. What advice would you give to women just starting out in biotech?
Be resilient and be sure you believe in the technology and/or the product potential. This doesn't mean just scientifically, but in a business sense also. Try to link in with quality investors who really understand the industry and what it takes to make a product successful. Drug development is full of risks, and of course, failures. So if you can't handle that, another industry would be better. On the other hand, so much is coming together in science and medicine and engineering--and there are so many true needs for better products, this is an area where you truly have the chance to do something important.
2. What do you think has contributed to your success in this industry?
I'm not quite sure how to define "success" in this industry, but resilience and doggedness certainly help. In my case, years of experience in actually developing and commercializing drugs, and dealing cross-functionally rather than within any single function, has clearly been an asset. I am known for being unusually transparent and open in my style, which may have contributed to that. I have also been able to link up with quality investors; in the bad times especially, this is crucial. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have generally been able to attract and motivate great teams of leaders and employees wherever I go, and have us stick together despite the circumstances.