Christi Shaw, Novartis

Christi Shaw
Challenging Big Pharma's status quo

Company: Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Title: U.S. Country Head

When Johnson & Johnson vet Christi Shaw first joined Novartis as its head of North American oncology in 2010, she had no previous experience in the cancer field. But that didn't stop her from shaking things up.

She put Novartis Oncology's "Signature" trial program--which matches investigational cancer therapies to specific genetic alterations found in patient tumors--into practice, helping bring the rate of getting drugs to participating patients from an average of 6 months to as little as three weeks.

Since then, Shaw has taken that patient-centric approach to her current position, which involves overseeing 23,500 company staffers.

"It's easy to get caught up chasing the bottom line, but I've found that you can only motivate your associates so far with financial incentives," she recently told PharmaVoice. "What really resonates is purpose tied to a deep sense of mission."

For Shaw, that mission is "more moments for more memories." It's a mantra she's brought to the recent launch of new heart failure med Entresto, anticipated to be one of the company's biggest-ever rollouts.

"Our heart failure franchise can really help those patients interact with their kids and grandkids and be able to potentially be more active," she told FiercePharma in June. "Increasing survival means that they'll have more special moments with their loved ones."

Shaw has also continued to challenge the status quo at Novartis, and that's included putting an emphasis on diversity. That priority has resulted in about 60% of her direct reports being women, according to PharmaVoice.

Shaw is active in promoting women's leadership and empowerment outside her own workplace, too. She currently serves on the board of the Young Women's Leadership Network--which works to break the poverty cycle through education--and co-chairs the advisory board of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association.

"I believe that it is important to pay it forward and support other women who have the potential to contribute so much to our society, and that education is one of the strongest tools for this," she told PharmaVoice. -- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter

For more:
Novartis scores EU rec for blockbuster-to-be Entresto
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Christi Shaw, Novartis