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Anne Phelan

Chief Scientific Officer, BenevolentAI

Phelan is responsible for all aspects of drug discovery from therapeutics selection to candidate nomination and clinical development, and also acts in the capacity of site head for the company’s  Cambridge Laboratories. With more than 25 years’ experience in pharma and biotech, she has worked on all stages from early discovery to late-stage drug development. Phelan brings experience from Pfizer and biotech company Mission Therapeutics. With expertise in pain and sensory disorders, allergy, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases, Phelan held the role of Chief Operating Officer for Pfizer in the UK where she was responsible for the generation of primary and secondary data to support the portfolio.

We asked…

What one thing do you think could improve the pharma industry?

Governments could further develop strategies that will make it easier to identify patients for clinical trials, which is a major roadblock for advancing potential new medicines in a timely and cost-effective manner. Continued expansion and integration of national and international databases of patients, complete with relevant metadata and medical records, would ensure the most relevant patients are recruited into trials, which could be conducted more quickly and efficiently by enabling key proof of concept studies to deliver decision making data packages years ahead of our current timelines. 

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

I think I would have pursued a career in environmental conservation. My PhD focused on the renewal of soil wastelands polluted through the heavy metal mining industry. Through the identification of organisms able to grow in these adverse environments, it becomes feasible over time to re-establish a thriving ecosystem. 

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