The Power of Mentors, Innovation, and Gratitude

Nancy Lurker, CEO and Board of Directors at EyePoint Pharmacueticals, is passionate about bridging the rapids from clinical R&D to life-saving and innovative specialty biopharmaceutical ophthalmic treatments for patients with high unmet needs—and possesses the deep industry knowledge to do so. She joined EyePoint Pharmaceuticals (formerly pSivida) in September 2016 as President and CEO and previously served as President and CEO at PDI, where she led the sale of PDI’s contract sales division to Publicis Touchpoint Solutions. Prior to PDI, she was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, overseeing a diverse $6 billion product portfolio. Nancy serves on the Board of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and is a member of the Novo Advisory Group.

Nancy Lurker, CEO and Board of Directors at EyePoint Pharmacueticals

What is most important to our industry’s leaders and how do they communicate their vision to lead not only those they employ, but also the industry itself? Lurker, a much-admired leader with a track record working in executive roles for many of pharma’s giants, chose to answer the following questions, giving us a glimpse of what it means to be a leader.

PM360: Did you have a mentor to help you along in your career and what did you learn from that experience?

Nancy Lurker: I have had many mentors over the years and have been fortunate in that regard. But let me dispel a myth that many people have about “mentors.” Many times, they are the friends, colleagues, and bosses you work with. Over the course of time, you realize how much they have helped you along. More often than not, they don’t identify themselves as mentors. What is important is taking the time to seek them out, to go out to lunch or coffee, or to simply ask advice during a meeting. Mentoring doesn’t necessarily have to be a planned or structured relationship.

I also strive very hard to provide that same advice along with a listening ear for others, whether for colleagues and friends or during direct reports. Real listening helps you understand what others need, which then allows you to be there for them. Be open to hearing what can make you a better boss, friend, and colleague. Like all relationships, it is a two-way street.

What sets your company apart from others?

We are committed to providing value to patients. What does that imply? We are not going to raise prices exorbitantly or make large price increases year after year. At some point, too many pharma companies seem to have lost their way on this—and it is hurting society and our industry. Company Boards and trade associations need to institute management and policies that don’t allow for these egregious practices. We are also committed to commercializing products that provide innovation to physicians and patients. That could be in pricing, technology, safety, and efficacy innovation.

What are you most grateful for?

I am so grateful for my family, who sustains me; for this industry, which provides life-saving medications; and for the many friends I’ve had the privilege to work, go to school, and socialize with over my lifetime. I try daily to be grateful, because we can always find fault. But you can chose to focus on what is good or you can chose to focus on what is not good. As I tell my kids, how you respond to life is your choice.


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