CEO and President of Viroxis Corporation, Director and Advisor for Santalis Pharmaceuticals, Managing Partner of Target Technologies Fund II
For Ian Clements, getting a good college education in a rapidly developing area (in his case genetics) and a good first work experience (immunology research) were critical for his long-term career. His next career step was significant. He realized early that he needed to change his career path from basic academic research to the pharmaceutical business side which better fitted his skill sets.
He started as an oncology sales consultant for Lederle Laboratories and moved up through training, product management, group marketing than to international marketing. He managed to showcase his skill sets and it was recognized by senior management as he moved up the organization.
Don’t be afraid of big career decisions, in his case it was moving from the UK to the US for a unique opportunity in a large pharmaceutical company, The Upjohn Company, to help establish a new Oncology division as an International Product Manager. These larger companies are great educators, trainers and encourage personal development and growth. He then moved to Novartis which allowed him to grow further as Head of US Oncology Marketing
He felt he outgrew large pharmaceutical companies and wanted to be a ‘bigger fish in a smaller pond,’ so he moved to a smaller company, ILEX Oncology here in San Antonio as VP of Commercial Operation. This type of career move has a level of risk and can reduce job security but you get a higher personal return.
The acquisition of ILEX by Genzyme 5 years later allowed him to ‘cash out’ and become a business consultant, find an experienced business partner, start his own companies and learn the additional business skills unique to being a business owner like raising money and broader corporate responsibilities.
He currently leads two companies, ViroXis and Santalis and can now help others start-up companies as a Managing Partner of Targeted Technology Fund II. In addition he can now give back and help mentor and advise the next generation of entrepreneurs in San Antonio.