Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It’s not Goodbye, It’s See You Later.

by Greg Simon, President, FasterCures

Effective June 1, I will resign as President of FasterCures and join Pfizer Inc as Senior Vice President for Worldwide Policy. It is hard to imagine it has been six years since I joined Mike Milken to start FasterCures.

In that time we have gone from future tense to present tense as our hopes and ambitions became real, thanks to the efforts of our Board, hundreds of allies, our supporters and simply the best staff I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Because we are not a research organization ourselves, our best moments are not “Eureka” moments. Our best moments are when patients, nonprofit organizations, companies, and even the government say to us, “Thank you for helping us – by creating networks that otherwise would never exist, for providing a different perspective on how to pursue medical research, for creating a marketplace of information to help the world understand what nonprofit research groups are doing to cure diseases.”

In the last year I have come to realize that the cure community has created its own brand of capital – what I call Passion Capital. Passion Capital is what you have when dedicated people spend their time and financial capital to do whatever it takes to make progress in the fight against deadly and debilitating diseases. The return they seek is not wealth or fame, not a building or an endowment. They seek a cure. That is their passion and what drives everything they do. That is why they have created novel collaborations for drug development, why they line up to join clinical trials, why they invest in biobanks and genomics.

Passion Capital is contagious. I have “caught it” and hope never to lose it. “Catching it” by spending time with patients and their families, and the scientists, doctors and corporate/nonprofit leaders trying to help them has changed my life. I never expected to be so moved when I began this effort. I thank all of you who have been so generous with your time, ideas, resources, and passion.

It was a bittersweet moment when I chose to take this new opportunity at Pfizer, sweet for the opportunities I will have to make a difference in the future of health here and around the world but bitter because of my deep affection for everyone at FasterCures.
From working with the team at FasterCures, with Mike Milken, Mike Klowden, and all of you who shared your passions with us, I realized that, presented with the opportunity to stop talking and start walking, I had to walk. And unfortunately the first step takes me out the door at FasterCures. But I am not leaving, I’m taking all of you and all the memorable moments with me to a new position in the leading company in the sector that is so important to everything we have been trying to do to bring better cures to people faster. I am convinced I can make a difference in this new position and I am not afraid to fail trying.

“Not afraid to fail trying” – I learned that from all of you and I will honor it everyday.

I leave knowing that Margaret Anderson – my partner at FasterCures for the last five years -- will take the organization to new heights with the dedication and passion that are her trademark. And the FasterCures staff will continue to help and support all of you who work everyday to save lives.

As a Board member and an advisor, I will stay involved. But most of all, I will remain a steadfast friend and supporter of FasterCures because the Passion Capital I have acquired won’t let me have it any other way.

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