Research and Development
"If you want to make a difference, this is the place where you can do it."
John fills many roles at Allergan - and that's just the way he likes it. He runs the Platform Discovery Team, a drug discovery group that identifies new drug targets. He is also Global Team Leader for a set of compounds that his team has put into development. In a broad sense, he and the discovery group at Allergan focus on the basic mechanisms of how diseases work, and in identifying new ways to interact with specific neurodegenerative diseases in the central nervous system.
John joined Allergan in 1998. He had just received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego and performed his thesis work in molecular virology at the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Coming from one of the premier academic institutions in the world, he was attracted by Allergan's mix of exciting science, underscored by a practical opportunity to address unmet medical needs for patients around the world. During his tenure at Allergan, he has been promoted four times, and has enjoyed the freedom to take on additional responsibilities and continually seek out new challenges.
In his role at Allergan, John most appreciates the independence and support scientists are given to champion their ideas. In an environment where he and his colleagues are given the ability to pursue new ideas - with the knowledge that Allergan is willing to invest in their discoveries - he truly feels that his work has a larger impact upon the success of the organization. The Discovery/Biological Sciences department structure serves to reinforce this. Unlike many larger pharmaceutical companies, Allergan's Discovery groups are organized into integrated target teams, which focus on discovery for different drug targets - molecular receptors or mechanisms that interact with diseases. This not only fosters a collaborative team atmosphere and generates plenty of peer recognition, but also enables scientists who would normally be confined to specific tracks to view a project from a much broader perspective. In addition, individuals can enjoy the fulfillment of starting research on a compound from the very beginning, and then see it all the way through to human clinical testing. In John's words: "You have a sense of ownership, and a freedom and capability to really pursue things that are going to make a difference for human health."