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Why Actavis CEO Brenton Saunders is PM360’s Uber ELITE

PM360, a leading health-marketing industry trade magazine announced the winners of its inaugural ELITE awards. The ELITE (Exceptional • Leaders • Innovators • Transformers • Entrepreneurs) represent the most influential people in the healthcare industry today. Sixty winners were selected in 12 categories from numerous entries extolling the merits and achievements of truly extraordinary individuals. 


PM360 also selected one person as “Uber ELITE,” or the individual among the 60 winners who best personifies the criteria of a PM360 ELITE. The very first Uber ELITE award was given to Brenton “Brent” Saunders, CEO of Actavis. At just 44, he has served as the CEO of three major pharma companies and recently transformed Actavis—through the acquisition of Allergan—from a generics manufacturer into a top 10 company.

Saunders and Actavis was also profiled early January in the Forbes article “This Giant Drug Firm Won’t Invent Medicines. Investors Are Cheering” 

He’s also, at just 44, the hottest executive in the global pharmaceutical business and, at least for now, the undisputed deal king of Wall Street

Actavis has been on an acquisition tear since 2010, transforming itself from a generics company called Watson Pharmaceuticals that had annual sales of $2.5 billion to a jugganaut has quintupled sales and delivered shareholders a total return of 545%.

As the furious pace of M&A continues in Life Sciences, companies are realizing that efficiency in data management can make for an even “bigger deal” that the acquisition of customers and assets.

In fact, many acquisitions are now valuing the expertise of salespeople beyond their ability to drive sales of product, describing them as their data-driven advantage.

It’s clear that with the PM360 award, and the attention of Wall Street that Saunders has Actavis firing on all cylinders. Congratulations to all of Actavis’ employees, with the life sciences industry starting to become more data-driven and a focus on the patient, the future is bright indeed.

Congratulations to the 60 named as 2015 PM360 ELITE: 

Uber Elite

  • Brent Saunders, Chief Executive Officer, Actavis

Data Miners

Digital Crusaders

  • Dave Guiga, Director of Partnerships & Innovation, Market Access & Patient Strategies, AstraZeneca
  • Trish Nettleship, Director, Social Media & Influence, UCB, Inc.
  • Nancy Phelan, Head, Customer Engagement Center, Worldwide Customer Operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Michael Russo, Executive Director – Corporate Digital Strategy and Innovation, Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.


  • Michael Coffey, Marketing Manager of Strategy and Innovation, North America, Roche Diabetes Care Inc.
  • Jim Curtis, Chief Strategy Officer & CRO, Remedy Health Media
  • Elizabeth Elfenbein, Partner, Creative, The CementBloc
  • Peter Kirk, CEO, SERMO
  • Ibraheem (Ibs) Mahmood, President and CEO, DrugDev
  • Stan Woodland, CEO, CMI/Compas 


  • Charles Benaiah, Chief Executive Officer, watzan
  • Mark Heinold, Chief Executive Officer, PDR, LLC
  • Jeff Meehan, CEO, Cancer Action Now
  • Robert G. Previdi, CEO, PSKW, LLC
  • Frank Segrave, President and CEO, Silvergate Pharmaceuticals, Inc.     

Launch Experts

  • C. David Green, RPh, Director of Marketing, Prescription Pharmaceuticals, Bausch & Lomb, Inc., A Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC Company
  • Jonathan Kuhn, Sr. Director, Global & Brand Marketing, Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Andrew J. Watson, Associate Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Wockhardt USA

Leaders of the Future

  • Greg Cohen, Sr. Manager, Social Media & Influence, UCB, Inc.
  • Tom Fussaro, Associate Director, Health Systems Marketing, Astellas Pharma US, Inc.
  • Meredith S. Manning, Vice President, Global Hemophilia A Marketing, Baxter BioScience
  • Michael Nesrallah, CF Brand Director, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
  • Jeenal Shah, Group Art Supervisor, Sudler New York
  • Jeremy T. Shepler, Sr. Director, Diabetes and Obesity Marketing, Novo Nordisk Inc.

Master Educator

  • Paula van de Nes, PhD, Director, Medical Strategy, LLNS


  • Thomas P. McDonnell, Vice President, Product Strategy Lead – Neuroscience Business Unit US, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Claire Scott, Sr. Director Thought Leader Services and Commercial Compliance Operations, Genentech
  • Shilpa Shah-Mehta, Senior Director, NET & STS Marketing, Novartis Oncology
  • Gwen D. Washington, Senior Marketing Director, US ADHD Franchise, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Deborah Wood, CEO, DWA Healthcare Communications Group and Owner, Avant Healthcare

Patient Advocates

  • Lene Andersen, HealthCentral Community Leader, RA and Disability Advocate, HealthCentral – Remedy Health Media
  • Karen Iannella, Executive Director, External Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  • Doug Ulman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pelotonia


  • Matt Barry, Associate Director, Urology Marketing, Astellas Pharma US, Inc.
  • Jay Carter, SVP, Director of Strategy Services, AbelsonTaylor
  • Danielle Dunne, Managing Director, Allidura Consumer, part of inVentiv Health
  • Jesus Leal, VP, Head of Early Development, Strategy and BD&L, Novartis
  • Mario R. Nacinovich Jr., MSc, Managing Partner, AXON
  • Danny Villeneuve, Payer Marketing Lead, Shire

Tech-know Geeks

  • Kendra Fanara, Product Director, Infectious Disease, Janssen Therapeutics
  • Adam Kaplin, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • David Windhausen, Executive Vice President, Intouch Solutions
  • Pasqual Zottola, Executive Director – Information Technology, Acorda Therapeutics, Inc.

Transformational Leaders  

  • Matt Giegerich, Chairman & CEO, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide
  • Kim Johnson, President, PALIO 
  • Melissa Johnston, President, Benchworks
  • Michelle Keefe, President and CEO, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, Inc.
  • Meghan Lopresto, Director, Digital Promotion and Multichannel Strategy, Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Anthony J. Maddaluna, Executive Vice President, Pfizer Inc. and President, Pfizer Global Supply
  • David Nakamura, Founder, Natrel
  • Hugh O’Neill, President, Commercial Operations NA, Mallinckrodt
  • Frank X. Powers, President, Dudnyk
  • Scott Shively, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Depomed, Inc.
  • Donato Tramuto, Chairman and CEO, Physicians Interactive
  • Timothy P. Walbert, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Pharma plc
  • Robert Ward, President and CEO, Radius Health, Inc.