June 15, 2002
3 min read

New CEO in charge of Santen U.S.

The first order of business for Adrienne Graves, PhD, is to increase the market share of Santen’s pharmaceuticals and keep up the good name of their Japanese headquarters.

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NAPA, Calif. — Santen Pharmaceutical announced May 1, the appointment of Adrienne Graves, PhD, president and CEO of its U.S. ophthalmic business.

“Dr. Graves is highly respected within the ophthalmic pharmaceutical industry,” said Takakazu Morita, president and CEO of Santen Ltd. “She has consistently achieved excellent results for Santen. Dr. Graves also has served as a key senior-level advisor and clearly understands the industry challenges and opportunities in the U.S. ophthalmic pharmaceutical market. She has a clear vision of how to achieve growth in this $2 billion industry.”

Dr. Graves joined the Napa- based company in 1995 and most recently served as Santen’s senior vice president of Worldwide Clinical Development.

Longtime Santen employee

During her 8-year tenure, Santen achieved fast-track Food and Drug Administration approval of two ophthalmic products: Quixin and Alamast. Additional products are currently in development, including two in late phase 3 development. Santen currently markets three ophthalmic pharmaceutical products in the United States, including Betimol.

Santen Ltd., has been in the Japanese ophthalmic market for more than a century and currently has more than 40% market share in Japan. In her new position, Dr. Graves will be responsible for expanding Santen’s presence in the U.S. ophthalmic pharmaceutical arena, an important market in Santen’s global marketing strategy.

Before joining Santen, Dr. Graves served in several high-profile positions at Alcon Laboratories, including Director of International Ophthalmology and Clinical Sciences. At Alcon, Dr. Graves was recognized with an award for technical excellence in visual function technology. Before joining Alcon in 1986, she was affiliated with several American and French universities and conducted research at Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Graves received her PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a BA in psychology from Brown University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in visual neuroscience at the University of Paris and has authored/co-authored more than 30 scientific articles.

Santen’s vice president of U.S. clinical affairs, Jeff Wells, PharmD, MBA, will take over most of Dr. Graves’s previous responsibilities for clinical affairs in the United States and Europe.

Former Santen U.S. president and CEO Jerry Hansen resigned due to family interests.

New focus at Santen

Santen has long been respected for its research and development capabilities, but if the company had any flaws it was its marketing and sales. Dr. Graves’s primary goal is to fix that.

“We’re working very hard to make sure every ophthalmologist knows who we are. We’ve got a lot of great people working for us,” she said.

Currently, the goal for Dr. Graves is to increase the sales of the products Santen has on the market. To do that, the company has already increased their sales force.

With their increased size, Dr. Graves has re-emphasized the training and resources for their field staff. The company is assessing where they are and where the need to be. They are also increasing focus on doctor education about Santen’s products and keeping a closer eye on the competition.

“We’ve had two big successes in the United States with the approvals of Alamast in 1999 and Quixin in 2000. We will also be sending two more NDAs to the FDA later this year. One product will be geared toward dry eye, and the other is a unique anti-infective product,” she said.

In addition, they have a glaucoma drug in phase 2 development. And on May 8 the very first Santen IOL was implanted in clinical trials.

While she has a primarily scientific background, Dr. Graves says she is up for the challenge of CEO.

“I came from Alcon after 10 years there,” she said. “At first I said I wasn’t interested. But I eventually joined for the challenge of starting a new business in the United States. Many of our employees came for that same challenge. Since we started in the United States, we’ve been successful on the development side. Now we want to penetrate the market — another challenge.

“As CEO I want to make sure we’re known by every ophthalmologist in the United States. We’ve accomplished a lot in 8 years, from not having a building to launching our products, getting a share of the market and building up a good sales force,” she said.

“Now we see we have tremendous opportunity to increase our market share. Dry eye is a particularly exciting opportunity, since there is a great clinical need but no prescription products out there,” she said.

For Your Information:
  • Adrienne Graves, PhD, can be contacted at 555 Gateway Dr., Napa, CA 94558; (707) 256-2435; fax: (707) 254-1762; e-mail: agraves@santeninc.com.