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Building a high-performing team and commercial trends with Everett Crosland

In the latest episode of the Venari Podcast's Chief Commercial Officer Series, Joe Knight, who leads the Commercial Function within the Life Sciences team at Venari Partners, was joined by Everett Crosland, Chief Commercial Officer at Cognito Therapeutics. They discussed building high-performing commercial teams, transitioning to a CCO role from an access perspective, and predicting future commercial trends.



Everett sheds light on Cognito Therapeutics, a late-stage Phase Three company dedicated to tackling Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases. Drawing on his market access background, Everett highlights the need for creative engagement with payers, recognising their increasing influence as gatekeepers in the healthcare industry. He stresses the importance of a cohesive approach that integrates strategies involving physicians, caregivers, and patients.


Everett and Joe also discuss the critical task of building commercial teams ahead of product launches. The timing depends on several factors, including the organisation's financial state, the specific market, and the pace of change within it. Drawing on his own experiences, Everett highlights the challenge of maintaining focus and making strategic decisions with limited data.

He outlines his approach to leadership, emphasising directness, transparency, and authenticity. Everett believes in inspiring and motivating his team by connecting them with the company's long-term vision; it is also crucial to remain adaptable in the face of evolving circumstances.


Looking ahead, Everett expresses enthusiasm for innovative partnerships in commercialisation strategies. These partnerships could involve large provider networks, healthcare delivery systems, and payers, with the aim of developing comprehensive solutions. He acknowledges the challenge of scaling high-value gene therapies within a fee-for-service system and anticipates that early-stage partnerships, characterised by collaborative efforts among stakeholders, would drive future advancements.


Read on for the full transcript of their conversation!


You are currently the Chief Commercial Officer at Cognito Therapeutics. Tell us about the company and how you got there.

We are a late-stage Phase Three company focused in the Alzheimer's space. In particular, we're a medical device company that leverages years, if not decades, of neuroscience coming out of MIT to potentially effect positive changes in Alzheimer's and neurodegenerative diseases more generally. I came into Cognito a couple of years ago, right as the company was really embarking on this later stage in preparation for the market and standing up the Phase Three study. There's often a question of when you bring in your commercial team and commercial leadership. Our product in this space really offers an opportunity to be creative and advance a commercial model that leverages the full attributes of the device against a disease that has long been a challenge for multiple life sciences companies. And so I came in a bit early, but I think it's something that will really pay off as we're building what I hope will be proven as a best-in-class commercial model.

You come to the Chief Commercial Officer role with more of a market access background than traditional, perhaps, sales and marketing backgrounds. Of course, you have strong capabilities there too, but how does that access and government experience influence your strategy as Chief Commercial Officer?

You were saying earlier about how you're building a commercial team ahead of launch for Cognito Therapeutics. You've done that before at previous employers as well. Getting that timing right is obviously very important. This is something that we spend a lot of time helping our clients with. How do you think about building that organisation? When is the timing right, and how do you go about putting in place the essential parts?

Just thinking about that recent case study with Cognito, is there any lessons that you've learned along the way? Is there anything you’d do differently next time?

So following that, I'd like to talk a little bit more about your role as Chief Commercial Officer. How do you approach leadership? You clearly have responsibility for managing a high-performing commercial team, but how do you go about ensuring that that is a reality and then inspiring your team to actually achieve great things?

Finally, I'd like to ask you to look towards the future. What trends in commercialisation strategy from both Big Pharma and smaller biotechs do you think we'll see more of this year and way into the future?





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