Christopher Ariyan, Senior Director/Team Leader U.S. Oncology Managed Markets, Pfizer
has always had a thing for innovation.
says, real examples of it have been difficult to find.
hardly been lazy in his
quest-his career has run the gamut of organizations within healthcare.
Before pharma, he
stripes working for hospital systems (via Ernst & Young), a payer (Anthem/WellPoint), a consultancy (Deloitte), and an international non-profit (REMEDY, Inc.).
But it wasn't until he
five years ago that Ariyan
could say that he
witnessed-and got involved in-real innovation for the first time.
"Consulting seemed innovative: you did strategy work, you learned about people's problems," he
"But in many cases the strategic plans you came up with sat on the shelf.
On the payer side, we would have innovation sessions, but it essentially boiled down to how to more efficiently process claims and provide good customer service."
says-particularly its Oncology Business Unit, in which he
has led the Managed Markets team for the past two and a half years-is different.
attributes true innovation to its scientists, "some of whom have spent 30 years, their whole professional lives, coming up with cancer drugs that have a meaningful impact on society.
But it's the unit's business innovations where Ariyan
has made his
In just 15 months, Ariyan
has assisted the oncology unit through three product launches, which, by his
own admission, is "almost a miracle.
has brokered payer access and oncology product distribution agreements that, formally, have not been done before, according to his Pfizer
colleague Brian C. Denton, and he's
resolved a problem of patient access and assistance through a new technology collaboration.
"has built the Oncology Managed Markets team from scratch and established the value of the National Oncology Account Management Team for Pfizer
," adds Denton.
"The national rating scores for the team have continued to increase significantly each year; Pfizer
oncology account management rating scores are now in the upper third of all biopharma companies.
Innovation, says Lance Reno, another Pfizer
colleague, is something that Ariyan
does on a daily basis.
puts a lot of this success down to the way Pfizer
With the company's newly rolled out "Own It" culture, staff have "the leeway to take more responsibility, more accountability, and, not least, take chances with a priority around speed to market," he
"And it's okay to fail.
But you learn from these mistakes, course correct, and go on to new heights."
part in "Own It," Ariyan
is committed to leading by example.
Lots of leaders pay lip service to that old chestnut, but Ariyan
really rolls up his
sleeves and gets down to it.
"My team appreciates that I don't give out assignments that I don't do myself," he
"When I send out a business planning task, I've already taken a shot at one of the accounts, not just as a test but as an exercise with real-world data.
I want to feel what it's like when I give these assignments out.
adds however that "Own It" doesn't mean "go it alone," especially at a company the size of Pfizer; he
emphasizes that the collaboration with Managed Markets teammates in the other business units (Specialty Care, Primary Care, Established Products, etc.) is vital.
Ariyan's passion for what he
does goes back to a friend and life-long mentor Sam Chauncey who was, at different points of his
career, Secretary of Yale University, President of Gaylord Hospital, and Head of Yale's Health Management Program.
opened my eyes to the business side of healthcare and the role it plays in helping people get access to critical care," he
Ariyan's ongoing commitment to this cause spills into his
A lot of his
family's time is spent participating in sporting events, and "very often they are in support of a non-profit cause, raising money for research for a medical condition, for example.
These activities are even more special, he
says, when Pfizer
is an active sponsor of the event.
It is clear that-spurred on by his
earlier career odyssey-Ariyan has found his
"home" at Pfizer
And the feeling seems to be mutual.
The company has enlisted him on the "Next Gen" leadership development program; ~two percent of the global senior director population get accepted for this.
, however, his
future plans remain all about playing a part in continuing to innovate, and bringing those cancer medicines to market as quickly as possible.