RealJobs: Michael Gaines, Global Product Director

Michael Gaines’ work day on Monday, February 8, 2010.

My name is Michael Gaines and I graduated in 1991 with an Economics degree from the School of Arts and Sciences.  Since graduating, I have spent the past 20 years in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry focusing on marketing medical products (frequently new product launches) at Eli Lilly, Merck and Wyeth.  After three years of sales experience with Eli Lilly I returned to earn an MBA from Harvard University.  After completing my MBA, my wife and I moved from Boston to Philadelphia to continue my pharmaceutical career.

In 2008, I joined CSL Behring.  CSL Behring is a global leader in the plasma protein biotherapeutics industry. We research, develop, manufacture and market biotherapies that are used to treat serious and rare conditions. People who use our therapies rely on them to help improve the quality of life and, in many cases, for life itself.

At CSL, I am the Global Product Director responsible for marketing activities required to market products within a rare disease category.

I work on a team that is divided across two locations – Bern, Switzerland and King of Prusssia (right outside of Philadelphia), PA.  In my current role I lead a two-person team, one located in Switzerland and one employee located in King of Prussia.  Switzerland is in an EU time zone 6 hours ahead, so my direct report arrives around 2AM eastern time to work. This allows for a high degree of productivity as projects can be worked on almost around the clock if required.

The marketing activities include reviewing clinical data with a global team that includes medical and marketing personnel from the UK, Germany, Canada and emerging markets to determine the key differentiating features of our brand and proposed trade name. Once that step is completed, we field market research (interviews) with customers to understand the key messages and value proposition that our customers deem most relevant to treating patients.  The true fun begins with the creative development of the branding where we determine the logo and the images with which we want our brand to be associated.  I thoroughly enjoy the strategic and creative challenges of brand development, which is a rigorous process pursued for practically every successful product launched, including Apple and BMW as well as other strong brands.

So, today I am in the midst of preparing for a major launch of a brand in our expanding immunoglobulin portfolio.  Yesterday, a large cross-functional team (medical, marketing, sales, training among other groups) met to review the key initiatives that must all come together to successfully introduce this product.

During this meeting, all team members are accountable for delivering important resources that will feed into a launch meeting.  Imagine an excel spreadsheet with more than 200 action items that must be completed on schedule.  I am responsible for all branding activities but also must provide updates on other key activities my team is working on in Switzerland.

The common ingredients for making strong contributions to the team include attention to detail, strong project management skills and flexibility.

I know this was quite a long blog today but I wanted to provide you with sufficient background about myself and the projects I work on here at CSL Behring.  I look forward to sharing additional updates this week regarding the types of managerial books I have read that have beneficial to my career development.



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