More than most, he has seen first-hand how GSK has led the way in respiratory medicine research and development.
“For me leadership is about vision, innovation, and a lifetime commitment to do the best for patients and the medical community. At GSK that is demonstrated through the company’s ability to have established, over more than four decades, a portfolio of medicines for many different types of respiratory diseases, that help people who do struggle to breathe, to breathe better. And I think that’s in the DNA of GSK.”
“In addition, GSK also represents curiosity. It allows someone with a curious mind to continue a level of research, to continue to look for new medicines, and continue to find opportunities to help patients.”
We’re often told to see failure as a stepping stone to success. Something easier said than done, but this is exactly what Steve and his colleagues did in spotting a glimmer of hope in an early, but disappointing set of clinical trial data.
In the early 2000s, we started clinical trials in a new area of medicine for GSK – biologics for respiratory diseases. At the time our portfolio of respiratory medicines were administered in inhalers, whereas due to the nature of these biologic medicines, these would need to be administered via an injection. His team started to research it as a potential medicine for a broad population of patients with a common respiratory condition. However, as in any area of investigational science, nothing is guaranteed. These trials proved to be unsuccessful and the team went back to the drawing board.
It is sometimes difficult to regroup and refocus a team when they have experienced a fairly fundamental knock-back, but with a resilient team of scientists, biologists, clinicians and medics, driven by one of our main GSK values of patient-focus, and a belief in science, the team spent many years reviewing the data that we had compiled from these early trials and decided to re-assess the medicine’s viability in a much more focused population of patients.
“These are patients who have maximised the available medicines, but in their own words, continue to experience a lack of control, which means they feel anxious and fearful – they never know when their next respiratory attack may occur, or how severe it may be.”