Alex Sapir

Alex Sapir
  • Lecturer

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    Colonial Penn Center
    3641 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Links: CV

Overview

Alex Sapir, a thirty-year executive of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, currently serves as the President and CEO of Fulcrum Therapeutics, a publicly traded biotech company whose vision is to treat genetically defined diseases by addressing their root cause.  Prior to Fulcrum, Alex served as the CEO of ReViral, a private venture-backed biotech company focused on anti-viral drug development, until the company was acquired by Pfizer in June 2022.  Prior to ReViral, Alex was the President and CEO at Dova Pharmaceuticals joining as employee #1 in December 2017.  Over a 24-month period, the company transformed to a 150-person fully integrated, revenue generating, publicly-traded biotech company.  In November 2019, Dova was acquired by Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (SOBI) for $900M.  Prior to Dova, Alex spent 10 years (2006-2016) at United Therapeutics as the Executive Vice President for Marketing and Sales.

Prior to his career in biotech, Alex worked as a health care consultant at ZS Associates and worked in various commercial roles at GlaxoSmithKline.  He earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in Economics from Franklin and Marshall College.

Alex previously guest taught HCMG8630 (The Management and Economics of the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Industry) and is a frequent guest lecturer at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business where he leads case study discussions related to pharmaceutical marketing strategy.

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Teaching

Past Courses

  • HCMG2150 - Mgmt&Econofpharma,Biotec

    This course explores the key phases of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology product lifecycle. The product journey begins in the lab where scientists explore a vast array of compounds against diseases (therapeutic targets). Compounds that perform best enter the capital-intensive clinical trial phase aimed at assessing the product’s safety and efficacy. In parallel, regulatory agencies guide and govern these trials and ultimately decide which products are approved for use in patients. Once approved, launched, and priced, products face many dynamic market forces including competitors trying to steal share, government and private payers placing downward pressure on price, regulatory agencies controlling what manufacturers can and cannot say about their products, generic manufacturers challenging existing patents, and finally patients and physicians who behave both rationally and irrationally when deciding which product to use. While the course perspective is global in nature, the emphasis is on the U.S., the largest and most profitable market. In addition, we will delve into the world of biotech start-ups from company creation and financing, to how they make decisions which compounds to advance. We will also explore how large pharma views the biotech industry to bolster their existing pipelines and drive shareholder value. Through case studies, readings, guest speakers, and in-class exercises, students will learn concepts and analytical frameworks and acquire the tools and skills necessary to become the future leaders of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

  • HCMG8630 - Mgmt&Econofpharm&Biotech

    This course explores the key phases of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology product lifecycle. The product journey begins in the lab where scientists explore a vast array of compounds against diseases (therapeutic targets). Compounds that perform best enter the capital-intensive clinical trial phase aimed at assessing the product’s safety and efficacy. In parallel, regulatory agencies guide and govern these trials and ultimately decide which products are approved for use in patients. Once approved, launched, and priced, products face many dynamic market forces including competitors trying to steal share, government and private payers placing downward pressure on price, regulatory agencies controlling what manufacturers can and cannot say about their products, generic manufacturers challenging existing patents, and finally patients and physicians who behave both rationally and irrationally when deciding which product to use. While the course perspective is global in nature, the emphasis is on the U.S., the largest and most profitable market. In addition, we will delve into the world of biotech start-ups from company creation and financing, to how they make decisions which compounds to advance. We will also explore how large pharma views the biotech industry to bolster their existing pipelines and drive shareholder value. Through case studies, readings, guest speakers, and in-class exercises, students will learn concepts and analytical frameworks and acquire the tools and skills necessary to become the future leaders of the pharmaceutical and biotech industry.

  • HCMG8770 - Funding Biotech

    The biotechnology (biotech) industry is one of the most capital-intensive segments of the health care industry. The actual cost to bring a drug from the research labs to patients is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and yet only 10% of all drugs that enter human testing are ever approved, often failing due poor safety or lackluster efficacy. Therefore, when you factor in the cost of these drug failures, the cost to get a drug approved can reach into the billions. And that’s not even considering the cost to market the drug once approved. Despite these inherent risks and high costs of drug development and marketing, there were $500 billion of equity capital invested annually into biotech companies over the past 10 years signaling a robust market where returns are disproportionate to risk. This course will explore funding these risky biotech ventures from two perspectives: the biotech CEO (primary focus of the course) and the biotech investor (secondary focus of the course). Students will learn about the various ways biotech companies are capitalized (e.g., equity, convertible/structured debt, licensing partnerships, clinical trial financing, royalty monetization, etc.) and the tradeoffs a biotech CEO considers when deciding which options to pursue at various stages of the company’s evolution. We will also explore first-hand how the biotech investor thinks about the firm’s capital structure when deciding to make an equity investment as well as understand the quantitative (e.g., market & competitive assessments, total financing needs of the firm, NPV) and qualitative (e.g., physician’s proclivity to prescribe, strength of management, etc.) diligence the biotech investor performs prior to making an investment. For the final project, students will analyze the capital requirements for a biotech company make recommendations based on the financing options available to the firm. Through readings, lectures, case studies, guest speakers, and a final project, students will learn concepts and analytical frameworks and acquire the tools and skills necessary to make important financing decisions as a biotech CEO.

  • HCMG8990 - Independent Study

    Arranged with members of the Faculty of the Health Care Systems Department. For further information contact the Department office, Room 204, Colonial Penn Center, 3641 Locust Walk, 898-6861.

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