Last week, biotech and orphan drug development pioneer Henri Termeer passed away. While I never had the privilege of meeting Termeer, I have read much about him and heard even more. A few terms that seem to consistently come up in describing him are patient-centered, undeterred, and passionate. There are many stories of Termeer’s intense focus on patients and the ultimate formation and validation of the current orphan drug development model is a testament to that. Even upon his retirement from Genzyme, he continued to be extremely active in biotech, serving as an adviser to many startups and executives, particularly in the Cambridge area. To me, in many ways Termeer is exactly what those of us in industry should strive to be. From everything I know and have read of him, he is an inspiration and someone who showed that even things considered impossible are not so with the right mindset. Below is a collection of some of my favorite stories, interviews, and videos of Termeer:
- Life Sciences Foundation interviews – this set of interviews is a treasure trove on Termeer’s life, his work at Baxter, and the success (and struggles) of Genzyme. It really provides a look into his thought processes.
- Termeer at Darden Business School’s Leadership Speaker Series 2012 (video)
- Career Imprints – an excellent book on organizational attributes that develop leaders with a focus on the early biotech industry. It includes many stories of Termeer’s days at Baxter, prior to his joining Genzyme. Given the diaspora of ex-Genzyme employees to various c-suite positions in the biotech industry, it is arguable that Termeer created a similar leadership ethos at Genzyme as that which he experienced at Baxter.
- Termeer’s induction to the Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs (video) – starts at 37:00 with a touching story from the father of a girl treated by Genzyme’s Pompe disease therapy followed by remarks from Termeer.
- Sanofi Genzyme’s tribute to Termeer upon his passing
I will update this post as I run across any new and unique resources. Please feel free to share any others that resonate with you in the comments below.