A Calling—And a Mission—to Help Patients

PM360 asks Tim Mayleben, CEO of Esperion what motivates him in the face of challenge.

What are your keys to success in meeting challenges?

We work for the patient. You don’t stay in this business long or sustain success if you don’t put the patient at the center of your efforts—no matter what your role in the organization. I joined the “original” Esperion, not as a scientist or doctor, but rather on the business operations side. Now, as a leader tasked with introducing medicine that can change millions of lives, everyone involved—scientists, physicians, marketers—must keep sight of the bigger picture, and that’s the impact disease has on a patient and the ripple effect on their family.

I know from personal experience. My dad came home from work one day and died of a heart attack. Overnight, things changed for our family. I had to leave school for more than a year to care for my mother and six siblings. The connection between what we do and those who might benefit remains personal: My wife has heart disease. The pressure is on to prevent other families having to go through what we did.

What are your challenges? How do you meet them?

Urgency inspires my persistence, even in daunting moments, to rally my colleagues to tackle challenges together. My wife’s ongoing struggle against genetic cardiovascular disease reminds me daily of the struggles and hope of every patient, and the faith they place in medical technology—both existing and as-yet-discovered. We owe it to everyone, every family, facing disease to push through and solve problems.

We face numerous challenges; the biggest is time. People depend on us to produce medicines that make their lives better, and we owe them our best effort. Bring your head and your heart to the challenges. Push through, maintaining urgency and courage for solving those challenges.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? What excites you?

I used to say: “It’s that we’re creating something”—whether a new product or value for investors. But, my recent experience and the countless people—I can’t tell you how many hundreds—who have reached out to say “these products have been life-changing for me”—shifted my perspective. Now, I say it’s the opportunities we have to get our drugs approved; to get them to people, like my wife and others who might benefit or who have access challenges—that’s a calling and a mission. Their needs, and our industry’s ability to answer their call, is my inspirational alarm clock.


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