Spotlight On: Chris Cozic, Executive Vice President & Chief People Officer, Genmab

Spotlight On: Chris Cozic, Executive Vice President & Chief People Officer, Genmab

2 min read May 2023 — In an interview with Invest, Chris Cozic, Executive Vice President & Chief People Officer of Genmab, talked about some of the company’s milestones achieved over the last year, including the FDA’s acceptance for priority review the biologics license application (BLA) for subcutaneous epcoritamab for the treatment of relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphoma and the expansion of its partnership with BioNTech for developing and commercializing novel mono-specific antibody candidates for cancer indications.

What have been some highlights or milestones for Genmab over the last 12 months? 

We had a full and successful year in 2022 and achieved a number of milestones. One of the things we are most proud of is the FDA’s acceptance for priority review the biologics license application (BLA) for subcutaneous epcoritamab, an investigational bispecific (or dual-targeting) antibody which is being developed in partnership with AbbVie, for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphoma. This marked an important step towards becoming an integrated biotechnology company as we have already established R&D roots. If approved, epcoritamab could potentially be the second Genmab-owned antibody therapy that we will work towards delivering to patients. We also announced the expansion of our partnership with BioNTech to develop and commercialize novel mono-specific antibody candidates for various cancer indications. We are really optimistic about the potential this has for patients. 

Simultaneously, we have also maintained a strong financial position, with a decade of consecutive financial growth and continue to build the company to 1,900 colleagues which is impressive considering we had less than 170 in 2017 when I joined. 

What are some strengths of the NJ Market? 

New Jersey has one of the richest pharma and biotech presence and that creates an amazing ecosystem of companies and deep pools of diverse and skilled talent. We have a dynamic culture and a strong set of values; passion for innovation, determination, working as one team, and integrity that aligns with the NJ ecosystem and allows us to continue to grow and drive toward our purpose of improving the lives of patients through innovative antibody medicines. 

Are there any emerging industry trends that your team is following? 

AI and data are revolutionizing the way we work because they allow us to see trends and patterns quicker and generate insights in real-time. Embracing and leveraging these technologies to improve quality and speed directly translates to efficiency for our colleagues in various aspects of their work and ultimately value for patients. We have made a commitment to being at the forefront of this industry-wide evolution by bringing in forward-thinking leadership to enhance the ways we research and develop our drugs. 

What are some challenges in the industry? 

On one hand, the prevalence of other companies creates great talent pools, but at the same time, this creates competition for talent. Prior to the pandemic, we competed for talent within a commutable distance from our locations, but with hybrid and sometimes fully remote working, there is an additional demand for talent that surpasses geography. However, we have still been able to succeed in attracting and hiring the best talent based on our purpose-driven culture to improve the lives of people with cancer and other serious diseases.

At Genmab, we have a thoughtful approach to ensure that we continue to be a people-first organization. For example, in the U.S., we offer premium healthcare benefits and also pay 100% of employee medical premiums for them and their families. We offer a hybrid work environment with a balance of in-office and remote work and summer flexible hours to give people a flexible work schedule. We also provide global company shutdown days where we close our entire world-wide business on pre-set days and observe meeting-free Fridays, which help to avoid burnout and give everyone opportunities for work-life balance. 

How are you partnering with other institutions in the area? 

Collaborations and partnerships have always been a part of Genmab’s DNA and are critical to unlocking new approaches and solutions that allow us to help as many patients as possible. On a local level, we have established programs with local academic institutions and trade organizations, such as BioNJ. 

We also partner with the Princeton Catalysis Initiative on research projects in translational cancer research, antibody science and data science. Last year we launched the first multidisciplinary Postdoctoral Industry Fellowship Program, providing an opportunity for young scientists to be involved in research supporting future antibody therapeutics.

What is Genmab doing in terms of sustainability? 

We have publicly committed to a zero-carbon footprint globally for scope 1 and 2 emissions and are nearing that ambition. Looking at our campus, we acquired an already existing infrastructure that we were able to transform into a modern building that achieved LEED gold certification for environmental sustainability. Almost everything that we are doing has the broader ecosystem at heart.

What research and innovation are you investing in currently? 

Genmab’s rich legacy of antibody science and R&D differentiates us from our peers. We believe in our own internal pipeline and capabilities, whether that is data science or translational research, so as we grow, we double down on our own capabilities. Our focus is to refine our ways of working to ensure productivity remains scalable as we grow and the level of innovation and quality remains high. At the same time, we want to complement that with new technology to increase productivity.    

What is your outlook for Genmab and the biotech market in general for the next three to five years?

Genmab is working towards making an impact on the lives of people with cancer and other serious diseases through our antibody medicines. We believe in the innovation we are bringing to patients today both organically and through partners, and in the next five years, we intend to create comparable strength in our commercial capabilities. Our commercialization team is anchored in highly experienced leaders and teams across functions and make every effort to ensure the best possible experience for care teams and their patients treated with our medicines. 

It is inspiring to see the frequency of new life-sciences companies moving into the state and the ecosystem continue to gain strength. New Jersey should continue to be a cornerstone of the industry. 

We are a company steeped in science but also a lot of soul. The strength of our people and their shared passion to improve the lives of people with cancer and other serious diseases will allow us to continue to innovate and grow. 

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