Marie-Hélène has been a leader in the drug development industry for close to 20 years. She joined Altasciences in 2012 as Executive Director of Business Development and Marketing after many years at a large preclinical CRO, and was appointed Co-Chief Operating Officer in 2020 following a series of promotions. In her current role, Marie-Hélène oversees Altasciences’ clinical and bioanalytical operations, formulation, development, and manufacturing capabilities, and all CRO support services, including data management, biostatistics, project management, and medical writing.
Get to know Marie-Hélène with this Q&A:
Q: Tell us about your current role at Altasciences.
MH: In a nutshell, my role is to support our mission of helping clients get medicines to the people who need them, faster. I do that by developing strategies to optimize and grow the services I oversee while helping ensure cost-effective, high-quality solutions for our clients.
Q: Why did you choose this profession?
MH: I like to think that this profession chose me since I ended up in drug development by coincidence. I always wanted to help people, and my original plan was to become a psychologist. I planned to complete my Master of Psychology, but decided to take a year off from studying to work and put aside some money. A friend of a friend mentioned they were leaving their role at a large CRO and, given my background, thought I would be a great fit… And the rest is history!
I did eventually go back to school to complete my MBA while continuing to work. I love the pace of the CRO/CDMO industry and learning about all the different therapies in development. I get to participate in helping biotech/pharma companies make their therapies a reality and am fulfilling my wish to help people, just in a different way.
Q: How do you like to start your day?
MH: I try to start every morning the same way: wake up and check if there are any urgent emails to address, do 15 minutes of yoga to get in a good headspace, grab my coffee, and go wake my five-year-old munchkin to get him ready for the day.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your time off?
MH: Family is what primarily dominates my time off from work. My husband, son, and I are big about spending time outdoors, so you can usually find us in the woods or on the water. Either that, or building our latest LEGO® masterpiece.
Q: What is one of your proudest achievements?
MH: This may sound cheesy, but one of the things I’m proudest of is that regardless of what is going on in my life or the challenges I am facing, I always lead with kindness.
Q: What are most people surprised to learn about you?
MH: I am a really shy and introverted person. People assume that, because of the roles I’ve had and how much public presenting I do, I must be an extrovert—but nothing could be further from the truth!
Q: Do you have a favorite travel destination?
MH: I would say my favorite travel destination so far has been Italy. I did a 10-day trip exploring Rome, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast—and the history and food were spectacular.
Q: Share a quote that’s meaningful to you.
MH: Marcus Aurelius once said, “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react.