Selling the Dream: Partners, Payers, & Patients

Tuesday, October 8 2013
8:00 am – 10:00 am

Location: MassBio, 300 Technology Square, 8th Floor, Cambridge, MA

So your drug works? Now what? Once FDA approves, how do we collectively ‘sell the dream,’ by providing a therapeutic solution to unmet health needs that improve health outcomes for patients? Join us as we embark on a journey to understand how an organization brings an effective treatment to the market. When biotech, pharma, payers and patients collaborate on the path to commercialization, successful partnerships emerge. Each stakeholder sees this crucial moment in the drug development process through a unique lens; each has unique needs. Our panel will address key questions, including:

  • When should you start thinking about commercialization? Marketing? Advocacy?
  • What role can and should patients play in the planning process? What about payers?
  • How do we navigate the complexities of a dynamic and ever-changing health care delivery system

This promises to be a lively discussion about the real bottom line: how to ensure that patients obtain access to innovative treatments when cost is part of the equation.



  • Wendy Erler, MBA,  Region General Manager,  Biogen Idec Hemophilia
  • John Fallon, MD, Chief Physician Executive, BCBS
  • Peter Frates, ALS Patient and Advocate
  • Paul L. Jeffrey, Pharm.D. , MassHealth Pharmacy Director, Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicaid, Center for Health Policy and Research
  • John M. King, Senior Marketing Director, Gaucher & MPS I Portfolio, Genzyme


  • Rob Weisman, Health Care Business Writer, The Boston Globe


This Forum is presented by the Marketing & Communications, Business Development & Finance, and Entrepreneur's University Forum Working Groups. 


Speaker Bios:


Wendy Erler, MBA,  Region General Manager, Biogen Idec Hemophilia

Wendy Erler currently holds the position of Region General Manager for Biogen Idec Hemophilia. In this position, Wendy works with a field based team to launch Biogen Idec Hemophilia and to develop the channel distribution strategy.

Previously, Wendy held the position of Associate Director of Advocacy Relations within the Biogen Idec Public Affairs Department.  In this position, Wendy led the development and execution of a comprehensive patient-focused advocacy strategy. In this role, she worked cross functionally internally to support brand efforts and enhance the breadth and depth of Biogen Idec’s relationship with US patient and HCP organizations in rare neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. Moreover, Wendy was the project manager for the national roll out of the MyLifeOurFuture Hemophilia genotyping project and in this capacity worked with three external project partners.

During her 20 year tenure in the biopharmaceutical industry, Wendy has experience in field sales, drug launches, product marketing and KOL development across many therapeutic areas including hematology, oncology, dermatology, HIV, and rare diseases.

Wendy earned her MBA in Marketing at the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University and her undergraduate degree from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. 


John Fallon, MD, Chief Physician Executive at BCBS

Dr. John A. Fallon, MD, MBA, FACP serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Physician Executive of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc. Dr. Fallon is responsible for ensuring the highest standards of medical care for Blue members. He is also responsible for helping expand health care strategies around quality, effectiveness, and efficiency at Blue. He oversees Blue's medical policies, acts as the main liaison with the plan's provider network, reviews upcoming legislation for medical impact, manages its medical directors, and acts as primary spokesperson for medical inquiries. He served as Chief Executive Officer for the Clinical Enterprise at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center. His professional experience also includes the Partners Healthcare System, where he was chairman of the physician network. He was also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of North Shore Health System, a physician-hospital organization involving more than 300 physicians and the North Shore Medical Center. His philosophy of medical care was sharpened during the 20 years he spent as a primary care physician on the North Shore. He has also spent a large part of his career helping educate other physicians on how to be effective executives in health care. He serves on many boards; among them are Masspro, Neighborhood Health Plan, and Massachusetts Health Quality Partners. He received a Bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross, his Master's degree in Business Administration from the University of South Florida, and his M.D. from Tufts Medical School in Boston.


Peter Frates, ALS Patient and Advocate

Peter was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 at the age of 27. He grew up in Beverly, MA and attended St. John’s Preparatory School ’03 and Boston College ’07.  At SJP he was a 4 year member of the football, hockey and baseball teams, a school leader and honor roll student. At Boston College he majored in communications and history, lived on campus and played for the BC Baseball team becoming their Captain in his senior year.  During his college years, he played summer ball in Maryland, Connecticut and Hawaii. After college, he went to Hamburg, Germany to play baseball in the German Baseball League while coaching German youth on the sport.  His passions include playing, watching, coaching, reading about and talking about all sports, travel and boating. Along with his family and his beloved alma maters, the loves of his life are his amazing circles of friends and his beautiful wife Julie whom he married on June 1, 2013 at an oceanfront event in Julie’s hometown of Marblehead, MA.


Paul L. Jeffrey, Pharm.D. MassHealth Pharmacy Director, Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicaid, Center for Health Policy and Research

As the Director of Pharmacy in the Office of Clinical Affairs, which is part of UMass Medical School’s Center for Health Policy and Research, Dr. Paul L. Jeffrey provides broad clinical support to MassHealth. He also serves as Director of Pharmacy for MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid program, administered by the Office of Medicaid in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. He is responsible for the clinical, operational, and financial components of the state’s pharmacy benefit for approximately 700,000 MassHealth members. Dr. Jeffrey previously served as Director of Pharmacy at Boston Medical Center, an urban public/private academic medical center affiliated with Boston University. He has also worked as a staff pharmacist and drug information specialist, both in community and hospital pharmacy settings. In addition to serving as a mid-level administrator in an academic medical center, Dr. Jeffrey has numerous publications and presentations to his credit. His practice interests include the integration of pharmacoeconomic principles into health care management, as well as the impact of the misuse of medications on the health care system and the effect of public policy on drug utilization.

Dr. Jeffrey received his undergraduate degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Duquesne University. He completed a residency in Clinical Pharmacy at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.


John M. King, Senior Marketing Director, Gaucher & MPS I Portfolio, Genzyme

John has launched three products in three different orphan drugs in three therapeutic areas. His launch experience includes both US and global launches.  Currently, John is leading the U.S. launch team effort with eliglustat, Genzyme’s new therapy for Gaucher disease.

Prior to Genzyme, he worked at Serono Laboratories and Ortho Pharmaceuticals in sales, training, market management and product management.  John brings more than 25 years of marketing and sales experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology marketplace.


Rob Weisman, Health Care Business Writer, The Boston Globe

Robert Weisman has worked as a business writer and editor for the past three decades. He joined the Boston Globe in 2000, serving first as its technology editor and a reporter covering high-tech startups, venture capital, aerospace and defense. Since 2009, he has been the Globe’s health care business writer, tracking hospitals, health insurance, and the life sciences industry. Before joining the Globe, Weisman was business editor at the Seattle Times, and a business reporter and editor at the Hartford Courant and New Haven Register in Connecticut. As reporter and editor, he has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the Aviation/Space Writers Association. He was part of the Seattle Times editing team working with reporter Byron Acohido on Boeing 737 safety stories that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997.


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