ELITE Transformational Leader Timothy P. Walbert of Horizon Pharma plc

Timothy P. Walbert

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Horizon Pharma plc


The Patient-First CEO

Turns out all you need to move a biotechnology company from the Bay Area to Chicago is free parking and WiFi at nearby neighborhood coffee shops. At least that is all Timothy P. Walbert needed when he decided Horizon Pharma would benefit from a move to the Chicagoland area. Since then, Horizon has grown from one product to five; from one employee to more than 700 global employees; from $150 million to a more than $4.0 billion market cap company—now with offices in four countries. 

But, then again, Tim has always taken a unique approach to this industry. In fact, his reason for entering the biopharmaceutical field affects every decision he makes. He was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when he was a junior in college. As Tim learned about his condition and began to understand how it would affect his future, he became committed to ensuring that he—and all people—can get the medications they need.

As Horizon’s CEO, Tim uses his personal experience as a patient to influence product development, acquisition targeting and to increase the company’s focus on disease areas in which current treatment needs are unmet. Tim also identifies opportunities in revitalizing older products that a larger company may have cycled out, as well as in innovative therapies ripe for commercialization or optimization.

But Tim’s “patient first” approach is truly meant for improving patients’ lives—not increasing the company’s bottom line. For example, Horizon’s Prescriptions-Made-Easy program ensures that patients get medications shipped directly to their house within 24 hours of a physician writing a prescription. Additionally, the program allows the company to offer products at a very low out of pocket cost—more than 90% of patients incur no cost at all.

Tim’s dedication to patients seemingly has no end. He is involved with several philanthropic initiatives including the Chicagoland Arthritis Foundation, the Tug McGraw foundation (glioblastoma, brain cancer), Cures within Reach, the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation, the National Psoriasis foundation and MATTER (Chicago’s Health/Bio incubator). Because for Tim, the patient is always at the center of everything he does.