Dendreon’s New Operations Man, Hans Bishop, Aims to Keep Provenge Trains Running on Time

1/19/10Follow @xconomy

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me to join. That’s how it happened.

X: Why did this job appeal to you?

HB: I think Dendreon is unique at this point in time. There are several parts of that. Provenge addresses the needs of a group of patients who have got some very poor choices. The product is really launching into a market with a substantial unmet medical need. That’s important.

The product, of course, is unique. It’s not only unique in terms of the obvious clinical benefits—no one has shown a more than 4 month survival benefit in these patients—but it’s unique in terms of how well-tolerated it is. You put that together, and it’s going to be an important option for men with late-stage disease. That’s always my first test—how clear is the unmet need and how well does the new therapy address it?

The second thing is that it’s a company and a group of people that have already shown their ability to truly innovate. I’m proud to join a team that has that track record of innovation, and resilience.

X: What do you bring to the table that the company needs at this point?

HB: Commercialization experience, first and foremost. I’ve spent most of my career launching and growing major pharmaceutical products. Provenge is going to be a major therapeutic vaccine.

I’ve also had a good deal of experience with complex manufacturing environments. We (at Bayer) had an important manufacturing challenge to manage. And thirdly, managing growth. I’ve learned how to build organizations that are fast-growing.

X: Which product had the complicated manufacturing issues?

HB: Factor VIII (Kogenate). One of the businesses I ran before had a major product called Kogenate. It’s a recombinant protein for hemophilia. Actually, it’s the largest molecule administered in man. It’s a giant naturally occurring protein. It’s designed to fall apart in the body, naturally, with a limited half-life. So manufacturing is quite difficult. It isn’t inherently stable. It’s different than what we (Dendreon) do, and in some sense, what we do is a good bit simpler.

X: How is Provenge simpler?

HB: The intrinsic manufacturing steps are relatively straightforward. They are well-characterized. The company has shown in more than 1,000 patients already … Next Page »

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