ELITE 2019 Transformational Leader Frank Sanders of Sage Therapeutics

Frank Sanders

Senior Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Commercial

Sage Therapeutics

Preparing a Company for Commercialization

When Frank Sanders joined Sage Therapeutics in April 2017 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing, he was just one of two members comprising their marketing team. At the time, Sage was a small, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that was about to embark on its first commercialization effort for an agent that would revolutionize the treatment of postpartum depression (PPD). Sage needed a proven leader with extensive experience to help guide the transformation of the company.

Frank’s first task was to build-up and unify the cross-functional teams at Sage into one cohesive commercial organization. This meant building and aligning across many key stakeholders within Sage, inclusive of Sales, Marketing, Patient Services, Commercial Operations, Legal, Medical, Regulatory, Tech Ops, Supply Chain, and many others. Together they formed the “Launch Readiness Team,” a group singularly focused on delivering the company’s powerful promise and successfully launching the first-ever therapy specifically indicated for the treatment of PPD, Zulresso.

His commitment to excellence gained traction within the organization quickly—inspiring all those who worked for him. Frank not only led the creation and strategy of the brand, he helped foster a culture of trust and innovation across the company that garnered early prelaunch accomplishments, accelerated launch activities, and set a high standard of success throughout Sage. Due to Frank’s exceptional, multidisciplinary leadership efforts, he was promoted to Senior Vice President and General Manager of U.S. Operations after only eight months.

Frank believes, “You need to understand where the markets are today, but don’t accept the status quo. Challenge convention, envision where you want to the world to be, and strive for that to become the reality.”

Today, his commercial expertise and contributions have positioned Sage to deliver on its promise of “Do Big” by transforming the lives of patients with life-altering disorders of the central nervous system.

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