My Job: President and CEO, Xcellerex

"My Job" is an occasional item that describes a pharmaceutical manufacturing position from the first-person perspective of someone newly appointed to the job. The intent is to provide over time a picture of pharma ops career opportunities, in hopes that the picture will be useful in career planning. - George Miller

Xcellerex is a Massachusetts-based single-use technology developer and supplier, maker of the FlexFactory manufacturing platform and XDR bioreactor. The company also provides custom manufacturing services and, via alliances and licensing, is a biotherapeutic and vaccine developer. Xcellerex recently announced the appointment of 25-year life sciences veteran Guy Broadbent as president and chief executive. His most recent assignments include senior VP for corporate development at Thermo Fisher and president it its lab products division.

FiercePharma Manufacturing: What tops your to-do list as you start this job?

Broadbent: Meeting customers and spending serious one-on-one time with my team at Xcellerex to synthesize what the priorities really are. Customers are why we are here and people are what make us successful. So getting up to speed with these groups is always my first priority in starting a job. 

What do you love about your work?

Working with the team to develop great technology and ideas that help our customers and contribute to making the world a better place, but that also provide a great return to our investors. 

Your new job title is president and CEO. Which part of that title challenges you the most?

Titles are just titles. Living up to the expectations of the board and the employees in a high-speed environment where I am new--that's the challenge. But it also energizes me. 

In a typical week, how do you spend your time?

  • Working alone (admin, etc.): 10 percent
  • Working with company colleagues/board: 40 percent
  • Working with customers: 50 percent

What will be different about Xcellerex after you've been in this position for a year?

We are at an inflection point in our growth. So we will need to increase our focus on building scalable business processes to manage the growth effectively and continue to delight our customers at the same time. 

Xcellerex is moving from market validation to penetration, which means the adoption of our offerings is set to take off even faster. This will require continued investment in our capabilities to deliver effectively for our customers in terms of process, infrastructure and, importantly, the development of our people. 

What's the biggest change you've seen in life sciences manufacturing over your 25-year career?

The current shift driven by higher titers and niche drugs. It's driving the economics (both in terms of capital efficiency, operating costs, speed to market and risk management) away from large stainless-steel, fixed-configuration assets to flexible, disposable solutions. This is truly a transformational shift and it is just getting started. 

For people who aspire to a position like yours, what's the top thing they need to know but are probably unaware of?

The importance of communication. You can never over-communicate. You would be surprised how often and how consistently you have to deliver your message to make sure it is heard, understood and acted upon. I always have a personal communication plan--messages, audiences, channels, frequency--and I encourage my team to do the same.