Who are the 22 pharma board members who also lead healthcare nonprofits?

An analysis by BioPharma Dive found most of the largest corporate boards in the industry had directors serving in dual roles. Here's who they are.

By Andrew Dunn

Twelve of the 19 largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world had at least one director simultaneously serving in a leadership position at a nonprofit in the healthcare system, a BioPharma Dive review found. These 22 directors are outlined below, along with how many shares they own in the drugmaker they help guide as well as how much they were compensated in 2017.

Companies included in the review were publicly traded on U.S. markets with a company value of at least $35 billion. Share prices from market close on Nov. 27 were used to calculate company's value and the value of each director's equity stake.

People who qualified as leaders worked for a nonprofit in the life sciences and healthcare industry, broadly. Center directors, CEOs and other top health-focused executive positions are counted here, while a head of a research lab, for instance, is not.

While BioPharma Dive contacted each nonprofit institution, all 22 leaders were unavailable to be interviewed. A few organizations declined to provide information or did not respond, which is noted below.

Seven of the 19 biopharmas had no current leaders of healthcare nonprofits serving on their boards: Sanofi, Novo Nordisk, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Shire and Vertex.

Here's who the 22 directors are, ordered alphabetically by company name:

Search by pharma company:
= directors who hold board seats and lead nonprofits


$132 billion

Robert Alpern

Yale School of Medicine's dean

AbbVie compensation: $335,929

AbbVie shares value: $4,294,612

Alpern joined AbbVie's board in 2013 and has led Yale's medical school for more than a decade after becoming dean in 2004.

In 2014, with Alpern serving in both roles, AbbVie and the Yale School of Medicine agreed to a five-year, $14.5 million research deal. A story in Medicine at Yale, a publication by the medical school's communications office, did not reference Alpern's relationship with AbbVie.

The dean's biography page on the school's website does not disclose his directorship at AbbVie.

In response to questions, a Yale spokesperson stated its conflict of interest policies "preserve the independence of our faculty and reduce the potential for real or perceived bias in our research activities, clinical decision-making, and educational programs."

"If ever Dean Alpern had the opportunity to be involved in a decision affecting AbbVie, he would recuse himself," the spokesperson wrote.

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$51 billion

Nesli Basgoz

Associate Chief and Clinical Director of Massachusetts General Hospital's infectious disease division

Allergan compensation: $473,941

Allergan shares value: $906,701

Also a Harvard Medical School professor, Basgoz joined Allergan's board in 2014. Neither her Harvard faculty page nor her doctor profile page for Mass General discloses her role with the Irish drugmaker.

"Numerous factors are considered, with a guiding principle that no Partners person may take on such an outside board position if doing so would interfere with the ability to carry out his or her Partners responsibilities or the day-to-day activity of our institutions," a Partners HealthCare spokesperson wrote in an email to BioPharma Dive.

"If approved, possible conflicts of interest are addressed through specific management plans, and the arrangement is subject to annual review to ensure that it remains appropriate."

Michael Greenberg

Co-leader of Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital's Allen Discovery Center for Human Brain Evolution

Allergan compensation: Not applicable, joined board August 2018

Allergan shares value: Not applicable, joined board August 2018

Greenberg joined the board this August. In an Allergan press release at the time, he said he looked forward to working with Allergan's board, management team and R&D leaders "to help enhance the company's world-class R&D capabilities and industry-leading pipeline, and ensure the company delivers long-term value."

His biographical page has yet to be updated to include his new role. A spokesperson sent a link to the university's policy and did not address specific questions about Greenberg and his dual roles. The Allen Center seeks to catalog the genes required for human brain evolution.

Peter McDonnell

Director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Allergan compensation: $449,941

Allergan shares value: $735,307

"The Johns Hopkins University has a robust conflict of interest policy which requires institutional review of service on outside boards of directors, and we regularly review these policies," a university spokesperson stated in an email, providing a link to its policies. "Dr. McDonnell's service on the Allergan Board of Directors was reviewed and approved by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in accordance with institutional conflict of interest policies."

While his page on Hopkins Medicine discloses his directorships at Allergan and Actavis, the editorial board page for Ophthalmology Times, where he is the chief medical editor, does not, only listing McDonnell's JHU credentials. It is also not disclosed in the print product.

Sheryl Stevenson, the publication's group editorial director, told BioPharma Dive in an interview that the reason it wasn't listed was it has never been much of an issue.

"Maybe we should put that on there," she said.

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$126 billion

Brian Druker

Director of the Knight Cancer Institute at the Oregon Health & Science University

Amgen compensation: Not applicable, joined board in 2018

Amgen shares value: Not applicable, joined board in 2018

Earlier this year, Druker was elected to the board of Amgen.

"Like many institutions nationwide, OHSU has been reflecting on its conflict of interest policies following the news of a nationally prominent researcher who failed to disclose corporate financial ties," a university spokesperson wrote in an email to BioPharma Dive.

"The OHSU Integrity Office routinely educates and reminds employees (faculty, clinicians, researchers and others) about relevant conflict of interest policies and the consequences that can arise from lack of close scrutiny and adherence."

Tyler Jacks

Director of MIT's David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research

Amgen compensation: $343,998

Amgen shares value: $1,147,713

A 773-word biography on the Jacks Lab website as well as his faculty page on the Koch Institute's site don't mention his board membership with Amgen. The Koch Institute did not respond to requests for comment.

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$48 billion

Julia Haller

Wills Eye Hospital's ophthalmologist-in-chief

Celgene compensation: $525,470.00

Celgene shares value: $86,487.50

Haller joined Celgene's board in 2015, which is not disclosed on her main biographical page on the Philadelphia hospital's website. A spokesperson pointed out her directorship was disclosed on the "Leadership" page of the site in the last paragraph. An archive internet service showed that Celgene was not included in June 2018, when its last archive was saved.

"Wills Eye Hospital complies with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations regarding clinical research and industry relationships," a spokesperson said. "We recognize the importance of scientific and professional independence in conducting research and providing care to patients."

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Eli Lilly

$121 billion

Marschall Runge

University of Michigan medical school's dean

Eli Lilly compensation: $279,000

Eli Lilly shares value: $1,065,330

Runge became dean in 2016 and is also the university's executive vice president for medical affairs.

"Michigan Medicine and the University of Michigan do not view Dr. Marschall Runge's service on the Eli Lilly board as a conflict of interest," a school spokesperson wrote. "At the University of Michigan, we manage conflicts of interest as well as potential conflicts of interest through transparency and a formal approval process."

His biographical page on the University of Michigan's site does not disclose his relationship with Lilly, where his directorship began in 2013.

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Gilead Sciences

$87 billion

Kevin Lofton

CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives

Gilead compensation: $415,803

Gilead shares value: $1,808,066

Lofton is chief executive for a non-profit health system with more than $15 billion in annual revenues, and has also been on Gilead's board since 2009.

While his biographical page on the nonprofit's website lists recognitions including being named 12 times to Modern Healthcare's "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare," it does not reference his role and compensation from Gilead.

"Both the board and legal counsel determined that Kevin's appointment as an independent director does not represent a conflict of interest," a spokesperson for the nonprofit stated. "Kevin's broad experience in health care allows him to provide and gain insight into a complicated, evolving sector of the health field."

Richard Whitley

Associate director for drug discovery and development for University of Alabama, Birmingham's Comprehensive Cancer Center's pediatric oncology program

Gilead compensation: $430,803

Gilead shares value: $709,469

"Several years ago, Dr. Whitley chaired a task force focused on ensuring proper relationships with industry at UAB," a spokesperson wrote in an email.

"He has no grants from Gilead, does not do research for pharmaceutical companies, does not conduct seminars or talks for Gilead, and he donated funds from his service on the board to endow a faculty chair in his parents' name, in addition to personally funding research. He also makes appropriate disclosures in all publications and presentations."

His biography on the cancer center's website does not reference his directorship position with Gilead, which he has held since 2008.

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$100 billion

Laurie Glimcher

President and CEO of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

GlaxoSmithKline compensation: $101,000 prorated, joined board September 2017

GlaxoSmithKline shares value: $75,707

Joining GlaxoSmithKline's board in 2017, her Dana-Farber biography mentions her directorships for the pharma as well as Waters Corporation, which makes laboratory equipment.

"At Dana-Farber, we have comprehensive conflict of interest policies that mandate annual reporting of all outside financial interests and relationships," a spokesperson said. "We also require that related financial interests be disclosed as part of any public presentation or publication of research data."

Jesse Goodman

Director of Georgetown University's Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship

GlaxoSmithKline compensation: $428,000

GlaxoSmithKline shares value: $130,799

His university biography does not disclose his corporate board seat with GSK, which he's had since 2016.

"Where conflicts cannot be managed effectively, conduct is prohibited or divestment is required," a university spokesperson stated. "Jesse Goodman has complied with the University's Financial Conflict of Interest Policy."

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Johnson & Johnson

$384 billion

Mary Beckerle

CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

J&J compensation: $324,893

J&J shares value: $672,418

Beckerle has been a J&J director since 2015. The institute she oversees is a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the highest possible recognition from the National Cancer Institute. She also serves on the board of Huntsman Corporation, which makes chemical products.

"These relationships are publicly reported, and Dr. Beckerle has formally disclosed these relationships to the University as required by University regulation," a spokesperson for the cancer institute stated.

Her biographical page disclosed both directorships.

Mark McClellan

Director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University

J&J compensation: $284,893

J&J shares value: $1,183,284

In addition to J&J, McClellan serves on the board of Alignment Healthcare. He joined J&J's board in 2013.

A Washington Post report from May raised questions surrounding a grant given to his center from the Food and Drug Administration where the center was the only institution eligible to apply.

A 2016 New York Times article also called out a speech where he defended high-cost hepatitis C drugs with slides "prominently stamped" with his affiliation with the Brookings Institution at the time, reporting he did not mention his role at J&J.

While a university spokesperson did not respond to an emailed set of questions, she provided a link to a 2015 statement from Duke's Board of Trustees on the topic.

"Given the time demands and reputational risk that can arise from for-profit board service, administrators must seek approval from their supervisors before accepting an appointment on an external board," the statement read, also saying it is expected university leaders will serve on a maximum of one for-profit board.

A. Eugene Washington

President and CEO of the Duke University Health System and the university's chancellor for health affairs

J&J compensation: $284,893

J&J shares value: $2,334,629

Washington joined J&J's board in 2012. His bio page on DukeHealth.org does not reference his role with Johnson & Johnson. While a university spokesperson did not respond to an emailed set of questions, she provided a link to a 2015 statement from Duke's Board of Trustees on the topic.

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Merck & Co.

$199 billion

Thomas Cech

Director of University of Colorado, Boulder's BioFrontiers Institute

Merck compensation: $318,465

Merck shares value: $2,300,277

Cech has been on Merck's board since 2009.

In a conflict of interest management plan, a school spokesperson stated, Cech agreed to: "(1) to disclose his relationship with the Merck Board of Directors at all presentations and in all publications of his research, (2) to further disclose this information to all of his students, and (3) to work closely with the university's Technology Transfer Office to ensure that intellectual property rights are properly protected."

John Noseworthy

CEO of the Mayo Clinic

Merck compensation: $234,167 prorated, joined the board in May 2017

Merck shares value: $293,680

Noseworthy joined Merck's board in 2017, and has announced he will be stepping down as chief executive of the prestigious academic medical center at the end of 2018.

"We are an organization defined and guided by our mission and values," a Mayo Clinic spokesperson said. "It is precisely because of our commitment to our patients that we believe it is important to bring their voices to the table in this increasingly complex health care environment and to help anticipate major trends in the pharmaceutical industry that may affect patients. Dr. Noseworthy's nomination to the Merck board is one example of that effort."

▲ Back to top

A scandal raises questions for pharma's biggest corporate boards

After Memorial Sloan Kettering's chief executive resigned from his directorship at Merck, should board membership receive more scrutiny? Read more ➔


$205 billion

Charles Sawyers

Chair of Memorial Sloan Kettering's Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program

Novartis compensation: $367,000

Novartis shares value: $690,131

On his biographical page on MSK's website, his directorship at Novartis is not mentioned, nor is it disclosed on the main page for his laboratory.

"We do not have responses for your questions or any additional information," the cancer center's public affairs department wrote in an email to BioPharma Dive.

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$255 billion

Dennis Ausiello

Director for Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health

Pfizer compensation: $375,000

Pfizer shares value: $1,858,001

A Pfizer director since 2006, he was Mass General's chief of medicine from 1996 to 2013. Beyond Pfizer, Ausiello sits on four additional boards: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Rani Therapeutics, Seres Health and TARIS Biomedical. Three of his five directorships are disclosed in his biography.

While Partners HealthCare, which oversees MGH, adopted compensation limits for board membership in 2010, its own board decided to scrap it in 2013. The institution now uses a case-by-case approach guided by the idea that pay should not exceed fair market value.

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$38 billion

Michael Brown

Director of the Erik Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

Regeneron compensation: $1,321,211

Regeneron shares value: $4,366,483

A Regeneron director since 1991, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center did not reply to multiple requests for comment.

Joseph Goldstein

Chairman of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas' molecular genetics department

Regeneron compensation: $1,307,211

Regeneron shares value: $4,243,080

Also a Regeneron director since 1991, his nonprofit employer did not reply to multiple requests for comment.

Huda Zoghbi

Director of Texas Children's Hospital's Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute

Regeneron compensation: $463,656

Regeneron shares value: $0

A spokesperson said Zoghbi " does not receive any research funding for her lab [from them] nor does she collaborate with them." She joined Regeneron's board in 2016.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Huda Zoghbi's ownership of stock options in Regeneron.

Editor's Note

This BioPharma Dive review was based on proxy statements, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, interviews with ethics experts and spokespeople of the nonprofits. Market data from Nov. 27 was used to calculate the value of each director's shareholdings and the market cap of each drugmaker.

As stock payments vary by company, the equity value figure was calculated by including restricted stock units, which typically vest after a set number of years of service or if certain performance metrics are hit, and by excluding all stock options and shares of which directors disclaimed beneficial ownership.

Companies can offer compensation in the form of deferred share units, which are immediately vested but must be deferred until a director completes his or her board service. Deferred share units are linked to common stock, accruing dividends of the same amount and at the same time. In valuing these units, BioPharma Dive used the price of one common share as of Nov. 27 multiplied by the total holdings listed for a director.

Andrew DunnAssociate Editor