Francois Nader, MD, President and CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals, named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2013 National Life Sciences Award winner

Dr. Nader honored for transforming NPS into what's poised to become a premier orphan drug company

Nov 17, 2013, 05:46 ET from Ernst & Young

BEDMINSTER, N.J., Nov. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Francois Nader, MD, President and CEO of NPS Pharmaceuticals, has been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 National Life Sciences Award winner. The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award is the country's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.


Dr. Nader was recognized for leading NPS from dire circumstances to a thriving, $1+ billion market cap life sciences company in a very short period of time. He was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in 10 additional categories.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from more than 250 regional award recipients.

"We are pleased to honor Dr. Francois Nader with this esteemed award and recognize him for his entrepreneurial vision, drive and determination – all of which continue to make a positive impact on the future of health care," said Bryan Pearce, EY Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year.

Navigating through "the perfect storm"
Dr. Nader describes the state of NPS when he arrived in 2006 as "the perfect storm." The then-management team genuinely believed that their lead product in development would soon be approved. They were so sure they would be a revenue generating company in the very near term they took on significant debt without blinking an eye. Unfortunately, the product approval never came to fruition, and NPS did not know where to turn. There was no "Plan B," so the company found itself with a stock price that plummeted 80% and hundreds of employees that it suddenly did not need.

When Dr. Nader joined and examined the company's assets he concluded that they could be redeployed in a new direction to create value. He moved NPS to a virtual business model - retaining only core competencies in-house and outsourcing or partnering the rest, giving the company access to specific expertise, technologies, and facilities, only as needed.

In 2007, as part of the refocusing, Dr. Nader set the NPS ship on a new course, taking two of the company's molecules and refocusing development on treating Crohn's disease and short bowel syndrome ("SBS"), both eligible for orphan drug designation. Dr. Nader also realized that the company needed immediate cash flows  Through licensing arrangements for certain compounds and other techniques Dr. Nader was able to raise sufficient funding to provide working capital and to pay down the substantial debt.

Making it happen
Dr. Nader's entrepreneurial way of thinking has helped NPS become the success story it is today. Indicative of his unwavering persistence and determination, his motto throughout the transformation has been "we'll make it happen."

By identifying and hiring the right talent to form a seasoned team of "doers," Dr. Nader strengthened the company's capabilities, creating a lean and agile organization in which each employee is personally accountable and has an opportunity to make a direct, meaningful contribution. Now, NPS employs more than 150 people and is seeking approval from the FDA for its second orphan drug candidate (Natpara).

NPS's market cap has increased many-fold since Dr. Nader's arrival and currently exceeds $2.5billion. In December 2012, 26 years after the company was founded, NPS received its first-ever drug approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Gattex, which received orphan drug designation, entitling NPS to seven years of market exclusivity. Most recently, in March 2013, Dr. Nader led the closing of a deal with Takeda, buying back full worldwide rights to teduglutide (Gattex) and PTH-184 (Natpara), both which have the potential to serve high unmet medical needs.

Culture by design
Dr. Nader is proud of the culture he has nurtured at NPS, what he calls "culture by design." He crafted the NPS culture by asking himself a simple question: "What type of company would I like to work for?" His answer: A company that has integrity, respects one another, strives for excellence, teams with one another, has fun and maintains an entrepreneurial spirit. Those are the values that the NPS employees live by with the overarching view of the "We" mentality.

Following Dr. Nader's example, employees have learned to live NPS' values instead of reading them off a poster on the wall. Dr. Nader enforces transparency in all of NPS' dealings, including the way in which he communicates with employees. He hosts regular town hall meetings and "What's on Your Mind?" lunches to encourage open dialogue. He is also involved with the selection of every NPS employee and personally welcomes each new hire by inviting them to his office for an informal chat to see how they are doing with their new jobs. Dr. Nader really listens to his employees questions and concerns and goes the extra mile to make the workplace just a little better to ensure his employees see the tangible results of their work, down to the finest details.

As a result, NPS's culture and values are competitive advantages and key differentiators. Voluntary turnover among employees is low – just four percent in 2012 – and the company has repeatedly received recognition as one of the "Best Places to Work in New Jersey."

National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Life Sciences finalists
In addition to Dr. Nader, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Life Sciences finalists in the US were: Michael W. Bonney, CEO, Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in Lexington, Mass., and Mark Douglas Fischer-Colbrie, President and CEO, and Richard Ellson, Co-Founder, Labcyte Inc., based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Overall Award winner
Hamid Moghadam of Prologis was named the National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Overall Award winner.

Video and photos
To view photos of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, please visit

Founded and produced by EY, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 150 cities in over 60 countries.

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SOURCE Ernst & Young