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Mike Rea

CEO, IDEA Pharma

A self-styled innovation protagonist/antagonist, and “geek,” Rea is an established author who has been appearing consistently in our Power List every year since 2017. Creator of the annual Pharmaceutical Innovation Index, Rea is Senior Fellow, FasterCures, at Milken Institute; Advisor, BioEthics International; Strategic Innovation Advisor, Nanoform; Advisor, OneHealth/ FidoCure; and the Owner and Chief Musical Officer of Medical Records, an indie record label.

What has been the biggest breakthrough in biopharma in recent years?

Probably the quiet revolution – so much attention goes to molecules and science, but breakthroughs in engineering, manufacturing, clinical studies, and IT have enabled scaling and the kinds of technology we’d have struggled with in decades before.

If you weren’t in the pharma industry, what would you be doing instead?

I suspect I’d be happiest running a dog rescue center. I’ve five dogs of my own, and have fostered about 15 over the past five or six years. 

Do you have any strong opinions with which the rest of the field tends to disagree? 

One simple one: innovation is what you launch successfully, and phase I and phase II should be exploratory, not confirmatory.

What was the most serendipitous moment in your career?

When I stepped away from a company that had just been acquired because I disagreed with their strategy. This period allowed me to see that I could take the step to start IDEA, instead of going straight to work for a competitor. 

Part of the Power List The Power List 2022

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The Power List 2022 focuses on the top 10 VIPs in three key categories of medicine making

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Part of the Power List 2021

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Welcome to our annual celebration of the great and inspirational minds that contribute to the development and manufacture of new medicinal products

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Part of the Power List 2020

The Power List 2020

Celebrating the great minds that bring us innovation in small molecules, biopharmaceuticals, and advanced medicine.

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Part of the Power List 2019

The Power List 2019

Breakthroughs at the bench, novel technologies and groundbreaking policies and regulation have helped the pharma industry grow from strength to strength. After months of collating reader nominations and judging overseen by a panel of industry experts, we proudly present The Medicine Maker 2019 Power List, featuring 100 of the industry’s pioneers across four categories: Industry Influencers, Business Captains, Masters of the Bench, and Champions of Change.

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The World’s Top 100 Medicine Makers

Bringing new drugs to patients is an incredibly difficult task that involves numerous indispensable actors – from pioneering entrepreneurs and CEOs, to industry experts, to dedicated researchers, to regulators who keep everyone on the right tracks.

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Our Top 100 into 4 categories

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