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Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives: Les Hudson

Les Hudson

Dr. Les Hudson, has been appointed to the recently created post of Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, effective June 15, Provost Robert Barchi announced last week. Dr. Hudson joins the University from Pharmacia Corporation, where he has most recently served as group vice president and general manager, World-Wide Ophthalmology Franchise, responsible for their over $1 billion ophthalmology business. He also brings academic experience to the post, having served as First Professor of Immunology and Department Chair at St. George's Hospital Medical School in London, England, 1979-1988 and as a Visiting Scientist at Harvard's Medical School, 1994-1995.

As the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Hudson will assume responsibility for the development and implementation of Penn's strategy for technology transfer and entrepreneurial initiatives as well as the University's Corporate Relations Strategy. He will integrate Penn's involvement in regional economic development initiatives; develop a cohesive approach to commercialization and long-term multi-dimensional corporate relations; and oversee the Center for Technology Transfer and the new Office of Corporate and Industrial Relations.

"President Rodin and I are delighted that Les will be joining us in this critical position," said Dr. Barchi. "He has an excellent track record of picking top notch people, identifying innovative research in emerging technologies, and identifying and developing successful new products. Les is the ideal candidate to help Penn develop an overall strategy in these critical areas, align our efforts with those of our faculty, making the best use of the intellectual property our faculty create, and spurring additional economic development in the region."

Dr. Hudson has successfully led new and turn-around discovery and development R&D organizations for two major pharmaceutical companies, Pharmacia and Glaxo Wellcome (1988-1994) as well as the Massachusetts-based biotech company, Repligen Corporation (1994-1995). While at Repligen, Dr. Hudson also served as Visiting Scientist in the department of cell biology at Harvard Medical School.

"I'm very excited to be joining the University that's on the move," said Dr. Hudson. "Becoming a part of Penn's senior management team just now is thrilling. I look forward to applying my professional experience to the Vice Provost position and to help Penn build on its innumerable strengths, both commercially and intellectually."

Dr. Hudson's professional achievements include the R&D and commercial development of products such as Ultiva, an ultra short-acting opiod for ambulatory care surgery launched in 1996; Xalatan, used for the treatment of glaucoma and high intra-ocular pressure (1996); and Tecnis intra-ocular lens, a new generation of foldable intra-ocular lens based on wavefront technology, launched in 2002.

He has a long track record of successful strategic and operational management of R&D portfolios for both Pharmacia and Glaxo. Dr. Hudson built a new project portfolio for cancer, inflammation and metabolic diseases for Glaxo and built a diabetes and obesity portfolio at Pharmacia Sweden. In five alliance companies, Dr.Hudson has produced a thirty percent return on equity investment.

Dr. Hudson is also known for forming innovative and strategic partnerships. At both Pharamacia and Glaxo he led a team of senior managers who upgraded in-house scientific expertise, and accessed novel technologies and innovative drug candidates through combinatorial chemistry, high throughput screening and molecular-based target discovery.

Dr. Hudson has also built and led successful teams in both the corporate sector and in academia. In the early 1990s, he built the first Discovery organization for Glaxo in the U.S. As the vice president for research, he appointed the key leadership team which built an organization of 400 scientists in just four years. At Pharmacia, he appointed a new international leadership team and built new metabolic diseases discovery capability from a series of small, diverse business units. As chairman of immunology at St. George's Hospital Medical School, he appointed 14 academic staff and built a research and teaching department which integrated cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Hudson graduated in 1968 from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London, with a B.S. in zoology. He received his Ph.D from the Faculty of Medicine at the department of immunology, Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London in 1975.

He has published over 80 original papers, books and review articles in immunology, cancer, cell biology and e-business. He is also a frequent contributor to the plenary sessions of national and international meetings.

  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 31, April 29, 2003