Newsbites McGill University

| Skip to search Skip to navigation Skip to page content

User Tools (skip):

Sign in | Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Sister Sites: McGill website | myMcGill

McGill News
ALUMNI QUARTERLY - winter 2008
McGill News cover

| Help
Page Options (skip): Larger
Home > McGill News > 2003 > Spring 2003 > Newsbites


The Little Drug Company That Could

Jonathan Goodman is well equipped to teach his course on pharmaceutical entrepreneurship to McGill MBA students. After all, Goodman, BA'89, LLB'94, MBA'94, is the driving force behind the creation of Paladin Labs, a Montreal-based drug company that earned $23 million in revenues last year -- only six years after its inception.

Photo of Jonathan Goodman

In fact, Paladin's entire senior management team are recent McGill grads -- vice-president, marketing and sales, Mark Beaudet, BCom'90, chief financial officer Samira Sakhia, BCom'90, DPA'94, MBA'01, and vice-president, scientific affairs, Dr. Tom Koutsavlis, BSc'92, MDCM'96, MSc'99.

"The course is about how you take a drug from the initial 'Eureka!' moment right through to its IPO," explains Goodman. "We've modelled the course after our core activities at Paladin." Paladin's senior executives teach about two classes each dealing with their respective terrains, and Goodman also enlists the services of pharmaceutical industry heavyweights -- the CEOs of Pfizer and Merck, for instance -- to serve as guest lecturers.

"I teach because I'm not the Bronfmans. I can't buy McGill a building just yet," says Goodman, who estimates that more than half of his 25 employees have McGill degrees. "We're all grateful for the education we received at McGill and this is a way for us to give back." The money earned from teaching the course is donated back to the Faculty of Management.

Paladin specializes in securing the Canadian rights to promising new drugs. In some cases, the medications are developed by small biotechnology firms. In other instances, the drugs are the creations of large U.S. or European companies that can't be bothered dealing with Canada's complex regulatory rules because the expected market for their medications is fairly small.

Paladin guides the drugs through the regulatory process and markets them aggressively. The company currently holds the Canadian rights to over 40 different drugs -- including Plan B, the only morning-after emergency contraceptive sold in Canada and one that involves far fewer side effects than other morning-after pills.

The Canadian rights to Plan B "were offered to virtually every other drug company in Canada and they all said 'no' because they thought it was too controversial," says Goodman. Paladin acquired them because "it was the right thing to do." He notes that up to 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and 25% result in abortions. "We didn't take on this particular drug to make money with it, but we are making money with it."

Deloitte & Touche included Paladin in its recent ranking of the fastest growing technology firms in Canada, while the National Post has called Paladin one of the best managed companies in the country.

Goodman credits much of his interest in the pharmaceutical sector to his father Morris, the co-founder of another drug company, Pharmascience. "Most kids grow up seeing their dads watch sports on TV," says Goodman, whose father spent his free time reading medical periodicals. "Instead of having Sports Illustrated lying around the house, I'd thumb through copies of The New England Journal of Medicine."

Doing Double Duty

Vivienne Poy promises she won't forget about us. Just because she was recently named the University of Toronto's next chancellor doesn't mean she can't visit her old friends at McGill from time to time.

Photo of Vivienne Poy

"I'm a graduate of both universities and I've always helped both universities," explains Poy, BA'62, a fashion designer, corporate director and the first Canadian of Asian descent to be named to the nation's Senate. At McGill, Poy created entry scholarships for arts students and served on the Board of Governors and the Advisory Board for the Faculty of Arts. Poy has been busy at U of T as well, doing very similar sorts of things.

She begins a three-year term as U of T's chancellor in July. Maureen Somerville, chair of U of T's College of Electors, the body that selects chancellors, looks forward to Poy taking on the new role. "Her relationships with

the federal government and so many communities within the city will make her an excellent ambassador for the university."

As chancellor, Poy will be U of T's ceremonial head, a role not dissimilar to the one played by her sister-in-law, Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, DLitt'01. "It offers me the opportunity to meet interesting people from all over the world and that's a part of the job that I'm really looking forward to," says Poy.

She foresees one logistical challenge, however. Poy will preside over her first U of T convocation as chancellor in November. She is scheduled to receive her PhD in history at the same ceremony. So how does one accept a degree when one is also handing them out? "I'm not sure what the protocol is for a situation like that. Maybe I'll have to switch robes at some point!"

Cause for Celebration

Stanley Frost, LLD'90, has certainly not been idle during his 47 years at McGill.

Photo of Stanley Frost Photo: Owen Egan

He has been a professor of theology, a published author, an ordained minister, a dean of divinity, a dean of graduate studies, a vice-principal and, most recently, the director of the McGill History Project.

Frost recently celebrated his 90th birthday with the members of the James McGill Historical Society. The Faculty Club Ballroom was jam-packed as Principal Heather Munroe-Blum and Director of Libraries Frances Groen both paid tribute to Frost, and good wishes came in from Quebec's Lieutenant Governor Lise Thibault, and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

The high point of the evening, however, was unquestionably Frost's own reflections on his time at McGill. It was Principal Cyril James who recruited a then-reluctant Frost in the mid-'50s. The British biblical scholar was invited to come to McGill for a visit. "There's a chap in Canada who's willing to pay my way across the Atlantic for a job I have no intention of taking," an incredulous Frost informed his wife. "It's a free trip," reasoned his spouse, urging him to go. Even though Frost arrived during a bitter December cold snap -- "I was an Englishman in a raincoat" -- he decided to stay.

"I came, I saw and I was conquered," recounted Frost.

Susan Button of Development and Alumni Relations and Frost's former assistant at the McGill History Project offered a toast to the University's most youthful 90-year-old, a man she has known for over 25 years. "His unwavering commitment to the well-being of our University has been monumental in scope. James McGill himself could not have asked for a more loyal son."

view sidebar content | back to top of page