Front Line Genomics: “Developing New Treatment Options for Unmet Medical Needs is the Cause That Inspires Us”

Front Line Genomics interviews Director Julia K. Brown about gene and cell therapy

Welcome to The Short Read, our weekly peek behind the curtain at the people who make this amazing community tick. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for the latest installment.

[two-thirds-first]Julia K. Brown has extensive experience in development-stage pharmaceutical/ biopharmaceutical and commercial-stage specialty pharmaceutical companies. She has served on the board of nine drug development companies with a focus on governance and compensation. She was recently appointed to American Gene Technologies Inc’s Board of Directors, where she serves as a member of the compensation and nominating and governance committees of Albireo Pharma, Inc., a publicly traded company with a focus in orphan pediatric liver diseases as well as other liver and gastrointestinal diseases and disorders.[/two-thirds-first]

Julia K. Brown, Director

Julia K. Brown, Director,
American Gene Technologies


What are you working on right now?
Making AGT successful. The idea of gene therapy has been around for 30 years or so. It is maturing to the point that we believe it has potential to provide promising new treatment options and possibly even durable cures for some conditions.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work at the moment?
Making sure the company is adequately funded. Managing growth and transition to clinical stage. Maintaining focus on proper execution of current development programs.

Name one big development that you would like to see in your field the next 18 months.
The pipeline of promising candidates is growing rapidly. They are advancing into clinical trials. We hope to see some positive outcomes.

What are you most proud of in your career?
My lifelong commitment to human health and career dedicated to development of important new therapeutic options. Somewhat of a pioneer for women in business, and hopefully, I’ve opened doors for others. I’ve always been focused on developing talent.

Which scientists, living, dead, or fictional, would you invite to dinner, and why?
Roger Revelle. Great scientist. Visionary leader. Enabled emergence of San Diego’s research enterprise and vibrant technology cluster. Having been in San Diego for 30+ years, I’ve witnessed and been part of the growth. Would love to hear Revelle speak firsthand about the earliest years.

What advice do you wish someone had given to you at the start of your career?
I was very fortunate in my early career to have wonderful leaders, coaches and mentors. They taught me that high standards of performance AND high standards of ethical behavior are essential. Leaders must not only set a good example, they must hold others accountable for the same standards. Most of what we do affects the welfare of patients and we should never forget that. Most people want to work for a cause that’s bigger than money. When they identify with the mission and goals of the organization, it elevates performance and benefits everyone. Developing new treatment options for unmet medical needs is the cause that inspires us.

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