Research and development in the healthcare industry are vital. Yesterday we saw the impact of the “opioid crisis”, today we are at war with a biological threat, the novel Coronavirus.
It becomes necessary to study the cause, symptoms and effects of the disease. These factors help to make a cure for diseases. One company in this field is Medlab Clinical Ltd, who are a medical research and development facility based in Sydney, Australia. Medlab is steadfast on researching and formulating novel bio-therapeutics, focused on improving health outcomes in early to moderate stage chronic diseases such as chronic kidney disease and per-diabetes/obesity.
Meet Dr. Sean Hall, CEO of Medlab Clinical Ltd. He is a medical doctor, researcher, lecturer and businessman who has authored multiple papers and patents. Sean would be considered an innovator in healthcare, new drugs, and disease understanding.
A Life-Changing Moment
When Sean’s late brother Alex passed away due to cancer, Sean witnessed first-hand how it affected him, and how little he was able to truly help him. It changed his life.
Pain, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, weight gain and a significant loss of quality of life started Sean’s focus on oncology co-morbidities with a belief that we need to do more.
Maintaining Life-Work Balance
Sean Says, “There are times when there is no such thing as work/life balance, and there are other times when it is easier to balance out. As I travel a lot, what time I get with my family is critical, and together we try to enjoy it – in some cases that could simply be a pizza and movie together. I try not to miss birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter – and there have been times when that was proving difficult. However, I am lucky to have a family that understands the importance of what I do and what motivates me to do it. I am lucky they share this culture; they know when I need my head on the game, when I need my head off the game, and when I need to be with my thoughts.”
Sean believes everyone needs to have an “outlet” – the gym and ocean are critical in keeping him level-headed and focused.
Making the Most Out Of
As a general rule, Sean likes to challenge his employees. He gives them various opportunities to demonstrate critical thinking, innovative thinking, and problem-solving; when you think about it, that’s what Medlab is entrusted to do, think of new methods, solve problems, and design new drug candidates.
Sean strongly recommends ongoing education and frequently will offer some form scholastic fund in lieu of a pay review to further a particular staff member. Continuing education is vital; learning new techniques and understanding socio-political changes at a rapid pace; simply look at the ways the novel Coronavirus has impacted us, our behavior, social interactions, business and now a significant desire for a medical cure.
In short, what we did yesterday is not appropriate for today.
Aligning With Technology
Sean believes that technology is a two-edged sword, used correctly and wisely, it can be a significant enabler and if handled incorrectly it’s a considerable hindrance, and user engagement falls off. Also, He finds that most of the staff are “subject matter experts” on various aspects of technology, be that brand preference, device preference, software needs (perceived or real). The point is that technology for most can be a very emotive topic, so it’s an absolute must, that if you embrace technology, you embrace your staff in the learning aspects to maximize user engagement.
Again, looking at todays needs, aligning with technology as we work remotely, is fundamental to all businesses, as we learn to adapt to new social and business restrictions imposed by the novel Coronavirus.
Contributions for Health Care Sectors Sean’s oncology-related focus, specifically co-morbidities like cancer-induced pain, quickly highlighted the significance of unmet needs; factor in the global opioid crisis, and it’s easy to see this particular area of medicine is ripe for innovation.
But innovation in medicine is a tricky “mistress,” as an old university professor of mine once said, “medical innovation is easy, acceptance is difficult,” and it’s understandable considering the time, energy, and millions of dollars expensed in the traditional phased research approach.
For Medlab, their most commonly known work is in advanced cancer pain, whereby they have accelerated nanoparticle research into CBD and THC. The posit is to offer a new pain therapeutic that is a non-opioid with less severe side effects (when compared to standard opioid therapy), strong efficacy and will (hopefully) one day soon provide alternatives to current cancer pain treatments.
Guiding the Path for Uprising Leaders
Sean states the first rule of business; cash is king, so know your funding options, what you are willing to sacrifice and what you can’t. Identify your pathway models and know your milestones – understand their importance. Understand that investors may see different milestones or re-rate your importance, so investor alignment is critical.
Recognize that innovation takes time and evidence, so know you can go the distance, understand similar and potentially competing companies and ensure that you have a quantifiable uniqueness.
Sean says as a leader, “You need to surround yourself with good, trusted people whom you can seek advice from and subsequently rely on said advice. You need to be able to spearhead teams to quickly and concisely articulate an endpoint, develop an execution plan, and run it.”
Sean believes a leader should build and develop trusted sources of information and recognize everyone (including yourself) has strengths and weaknesses. It is essential to know that as a leader people will always look to you for solutions and directions. At times this will be collaborative and other times, it will be a direction. Lastly, you can’t please everyone, so don’t try.
Sean’s advice is to always look at ways to improve yourself and your managerial style. You must understand and continually double-check the direction you are taking your company/unit, plan it out, work through that plan with your trusted sources and when circumstances change, adapt. Stay commercial, keep your eye on the prize, know your endpoint, and question how you will achieve that and the pathway you are taking.