During the 2017 BIO International Convention, David Hung, CEO of Axovant Sciences (L) poses with Rob Wright (R), chief editor, Life Science Leader magazine.
Forbes once called Merck’s Ken Frazier a “quote machine,” but I’d say David Hung is just as deserving of that moniker. I interviewed Hung, the new CEO of Axovant Sciences, at the BIO conference in June, and throughout our discussion I found myself smiling. Hung, who saw the company he founded, Medivation, be acquired by Pfizer for $14.3 billion, will be the subject of a Life Science Leader magazine exclusive feature in our October 2017 issue. During our conversation he provided a plethora of statements I found so memorable that I decided to put together a list of my top 10 favorites — listed in the order they occurred during conversation.
- “I just didn’t think the technologies were good enough, and I decided to make a change and to shoot higher.” — stated during a discussion of his move from academia to industry.
- “I couldn’t get a job in biotech.” — shared when describing applying for positions at 35 different biotechs before being given an opportunity.
- “Getting a job at Chiron has really governed how I think about giving younger people opportunities to do things they haven’t necessarily done before.” — said about being granted his first opportunity to work in industry.
- “I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today were it not for certain people in my life giving me those opportunities. That has profoundly affected the way I’ve managed my companies and grown people within my own organization.” —describing when he finally broke into the industry with Chiron.
- “My life’s been ruled by serendipity.” — stated while explaining getting sick with appendicitis during his first week on the job at Chiron.
- “I made the case to Chiron management that I thought I could do things faster, cheaper, and better in a virtual organization than working within the larger organization of Chiron, which was probably a little presumptuous given the fact that I had no previous industry experience.” — said while explaining his experience at Chiron.
- “I’m not necessarily wedded to any particular therapeutic approach.” — on why he decided to move from Chiron to a medical device company.
- “Early detection by mammography is actually not that early.” — on his decision to invent a ductal cancer early-detection medical device.
- “Unfortunately, the medical community oftentimes can be very conservative and slow to change.” — comment shared regarding the slow uptake by physicians of his FDA-approved early-detection ductal cancer medical device.
- “The world doesn’t need more drugs, it just needs better drugs.” — as to why he decided to found Medivation.