January 13, 2021 – Life sciences search specialist Coulter Partners has placed Brian O’Callaghan as chief executive officer of ObsEva, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing novel therapies for women’s reproductive health. Client partner Nona Footz led the assignment. Mr. O’Callaghan succeeds Ernest Loumaye, who co-founded the firm in 2012. As ObsEva evolves from a development company toward commercialization, Dr. Loumaye is retiring from day-to-day operations. He will continue to serve as a member of ObsEva’s board of directors and is working to ensure a smooth transition with Mr. O’Callaghan.
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve as the CEO of ObsEva since founding the company and I am incredibly proud of everything our team has accomplished in the past seven years,” said Dr. Loumaye. “I am delighted to be succeeded by Brian whose wealth of experience will greatly benefit ObsEva as we move forward and evolve, and I am committed to supporting him and ObsEva during this transition and in the future.”
“The board and I are confident that Brian is the right person to lead ObsEva in its next phase of evolution,” said Frank Verwiel, chairperson of ObsEva’s board of directors. “He is a seasoned leader with significant experience working with the public markets and delivering value to shareholders. We are delighted to welcome him as our CEO.”
Mr. O’Callaghan, who also joins ObsEva’s executive committee, is a life science executive who has held senior positions within a number of public and private pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, in both Europe and the U.S. These include CEO positions at Petra Pharma, Acucela, Sangart and BioPartners, as well as senior management positions at Pfizer, Merck Serono, Novartis, Covance and NPS Pharmaceuticals. Mr. O’Callaghan brings a wide range of experience, having managed businesses and programs across multiple therapeutic areas from concept through commercialization. He is expected to leverage his experience to lead ObsEva through its future development, regulatory filings and product launches.
“I am delighted to lead ObsEva into the future as it intends to file its first market authorization application (MAA) for Linzagolix for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding and pain associated with uterine fibroids in pre-menopausal women in the EU before year end and a new drug application (NDA) in the U.S. in the first half of 2021,” said Mr. O’Callaghan. “I look forward to working with ObsEva’s board and team to advance the development and commercialization of best in class therapies that women deserve.”
ObsEva is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its U.S. headquarters is in Boston. The company has used strategic in-licensing and disciplined drug development to establish a late-stage clinical pipeline with development programs focused on treating endometriosis, uterine fibroids, preterm labor and improving embryo transfer outcomes following in vitro fertilization.
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Coulter Partners is a board and senior-level global executive search specialist focused exclusively on life sciences. The firm works closely with those at the cutting edge of innovation in the industry to understand their challenges. With an extensive global network and expertise gained over 25 years in the sector, Coulter Partners have become trusted advisers on leadership in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology, diagnostics, health tech, CRO and services sectors. The firm also works closely with the global investor community, hiring for their own teams as well as building the boards and executive leadership teams of their portfolio companies. Its team of 95 completes over 260 assignments a year working from 14 offices across the U.K., EMEA, the U.S. and APAC.
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With the integration of technology into all facets of everyday life, the life sciences and healthcare industry is hardly alone in facing technology-related issues. These take on increased importance when they impact health, disease diagnosis, treatment and, ultimately, human longevity. Having the right leaders in place to sort through these complex challenges, say recruiters serving the sector, is critical — especially those with vision and transformational skills.
Ms. Coulter founded Coulter Partners in 2003 and has 25 years’ experience of board and C-level global search, building the leadership teams of early stage, mid cap and global multinationals in over 20 countries. Through appointing the best leadership, Ms. Coulter channels her judgement and considerable expertise to impact patient benefit and assist those at the cutting edge of life science to achieve their goals.
“The life sciences sector in the U.K. continues to see growth across the board and not only in the major hubs of London, Cambridge and Oxford,” said Joe Coulter, COO of Coulter Partners. “Strong leadership to make an impact in this innovative industry continues to be in huge demand and we do not predict this will change in the foreseeable future. The sector has adapted like others to remote work practices and recruitment continues apace, with virtual onboarding just one of the many innovations that have been adopted.”
Ms. Footz leads on global commercial, board and executive search delivery across the spectrum of life sciences for Coulter Partners. She has over 17 years’ sourcing experience gained working with emerging and established companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and professional services sectors. Prior to Coulter Partners, she spearheaded the life science practice at RSR Partners. Before that, she was a client partner for Korn Ferry’s global human resources and life science practices in New York City, Princeton, NJ and Chicago.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media