In leadership, it is diﬃcult often to be daring, diﬃcult to be willing to take on that potential risk to the business. You have to weigh pros and cons, mostly based on available information of data, but sometimes it still comes down to following your gut. Having such an astute approach and shrewd leadership qualities is Paul Lammers, the President & CEO of Triumvira Immunologics. Let’s ﬁnd more about his exclusive journey in an Interview conducted between Paul Lammers and Insights Success.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming an innovative business leader.
I was fortunate relatively early in my career to become a member of the management team at a company with numerous products on the market, as well as with about 1,100 employees in the US. Therefore, I got a lot of exposure to business and people management issues, and as always, you learn most from the things that do not go that well. Furthermore, I quickly realized that in pharma and biotech, “innovation is an imperative”, that you continuously have to evolve as a company but also as an industry professional and as a people manager.
Describe the company and its extensive solutions/services which address all the needs of its customers.
We are an engineered T cell therapy company focused on bringing new therapeutic modalities to cancer patients. Our technology, which will enter its ﬁrst clinical testing in Q2 of 2021, is well- diﬀerentiated from other engineered T cell approaches, and we hope, will oﬀer clinical eﬃcacy and a good safety proﬁle in patients who have progressed already on other types of cancer therapies. We are building a broad pipeline of diﬀerent cell therapy products, all based on our proprietary TAC (T-Cell Antigen Coupler) technology.
Have you drawn professional inspiration from other business leaders? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.
I have learned from every one of the diﬀerent President and/or CEOs that I have reported to over the course of my career before I became a CEO myself. One was a phenomenal businessman but a horrible people manager; some were incredible micro-managers, which I have learned to absolutely hate, so I refuse to do that in my own team, which truly helps build a stronger team by showing that you trust people to get the work done without constantly looking over their shoulders. Ultimately, you have to develop your own approach on how you feel would be best to manage your business and your people.
What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship, and mentoring?
As a CEO you sometimes have to make a tough executive decision, knowing full well that some people in the organization might not be pleased with it. But that creates a situation where mentoring becomes important as well, to make people understand why you had to make that diﬃcult decision. Furthermore, mentoring people can happen in oneon-one situations or meetings, but even in larger group meetings.
Professional development, as well as personal development, are extremely important to create and maintain a workforce that is up to the task in an ever-changing biotech environment. Personally, I do not mind taking a calculated risk, but I try to avoid taking a stupid risk. But as mentioned earlier, “innovation is an imperative” in biotech, and that means, willing to be entrepreneurial.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
I have learned over the years, to not try and take on too many tasks at the same time. Hiring a great team, and trusting that great team, allows me to delegate tasks, knowing that the team is equipped to take those tasks on themselves. However, it took me several years to develop this type of trust, afraid that people might blame me should there be an error in planning or execution of a plan.
How do you cope with capricious technological trends to boost your personal growth?
Versatility and ﬂexibility are very useful traits to have when one is involved in drug development. Murphy’s Law will apply to most drug development programs, and bizarre, unplanned events might occur which might be headscratching when ﬁrst discovered, but then, it is critical to swiftly assess and analyze the situation and come up with a plan on how to be tackle or handle. This makes you grow as a professional and as a person, as “calmness under stress” is what a good leader should show.
What would you tell emerging business leaders who are just starting to work? What would you like them to know?
“Be a sponge”, i.e., learn as much as you can about your business, learn from the people you work with and/or for. Be open to new ideas, not just from your Management Team members but also from anyone lower in the organization. Be open to criticism, whether about the business or about yourself, whether from outside the organization or from within.
What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
People work in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry because ultimately, they want to make a diﬀerence in a patient’s life, especially, in the life of patients facing a serious or even life-threatening disease. As a biotech company developing a therapeutic for cancer, it really starts to count when you actually can start treating patients in a clinical trial setting. But it takes years, a team, patience, lots of money, and a healthy dose of good luck before you ﬁnally get to enroll the ﬁrst patient in that clinical trial. Therefore, for me, the key near term objective is starting our ﬁrst clinical trial in Q2 of this year, not just a major milestone for the company, for the team, but also for me personally.