The Wound Care Learning Network had the opportunity to talk with Timothy Wright, the new chief executive officer of MiMedx, a biopharmaceutical company advancing the health care industry, including the field of wound care, with the development of regenerative biologics utilizing human placental allografts.
You went to Ohio State University and earned bachelor of science in marketing. Did you always intend to pursue a career in the health care industry?
Health care was not necessarily my career goal. Yet, it was a constant foundation as I made my way from graduation into the professional world. I paid my way through college working as a clinical chemist in a hospital and teaching karate—both of which gave me a taste of medicine and wellness. When I took my first job out of school, like many people eager to enter the working world, my primary focus was on being with a solid company, whatever the sector. I joined Caterpillar, a terrific company, and two years later, I joined American Critical Care, a division of American Hospital Supply, which later became part of DuPont Pharma. The work was so meaningful—and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve had the privilege of impacting lives as part of great companies like DuPont, Elan, Covidien, M2Gen, and now, MiMedx. I can’t imagine being part of any other industry.
You seem to be quite connected to your alma mater. Through the years, you have served as director of The Ohio State Innovation Foundation and chairperson of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Drug Development Institute and sit on The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy Dean’s Corporate Council. What compels you to be part of these three endeavors at the academic level?
Being involved in these three bodies is especially meaningful for me because pharmacy, drug innovation, and cancer care represent the journey I am dedicated to supporting: from scientific discovery to development to delivering medicines to people in need. The Ohio State University was a foundational experience, both academically and socially. I am fortunate to have benefited from great teachers, mentors, and friends, throughout my time at OSU and during my career. My way of paying this forward is sharing my experience and time, helping the next generation of leaders make an impact where others benefit. This is especially true in health where patient lives are in the balance.
Prior to your appointment to chief executive officer of MiMedx, you served as president and CEO of M2Gen Corp., a cancer and health informatics company, among other notable positions. You have led companies as they evolved—including DuPont Pharma, Covidien, and others. What compelled you to join MiMedx?
I value working with colleagues who want to impact people’s lives for the better—to shift journeys from sickness to wellness. MiMedx has much to offer by advancing the science and care in the chronic wound space. The placenta-based platform is unprecedented and holds significant potential to transform lives. MiMedx is a leader in advanced wound care and as a leader, it’s also our opportunity to advance the science and encourage the sector to focus on quality, reliability, and efficacy. Only a small percentage of the people who can benefit from these technologies are receiving treatment and advanced reparative tissues. Coming here and working with great people is a collective effort to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.
How have your previous leadership roles helped shape your mindset and mission with MiMedx?
My experience—rising through the ranks from sales and product management to lead marketing at Dupont Merck in Europe, then the Dupont Canada division, and later as an executive at Elan during its great transformation—taught me business management as a discipline and, also, that things go askew when people lose sight of their mission and purpose. At MiMedx, we are returning our energy and urgency to the reason we do what we do: improving patient lives and outcomes. I came to MiMedx with experience, curiosity, and a formula for success. We are investing in our science, people, pipeline, and customer connections because people living with chronic wounds need us to act with urgency. Ultimately, it’s all about people working in harmony with their customers and the people we all serve—those with pressing health concerns.
Can you share an overview of how MiMedx serves patients with regenerative and therapeutic biologic products? How does your portfolio differ from other companies operating in the space? What is the value provided to health care professionals and the people in their care?
It is estimated that every 1.2 seconds, someone on our planet develops a diabetic foot wound, and every 20 seconds, someone loses a limb as a result of this condition. Between 1-in-4 to 1-in-6 people with diabetes will get a non-healing ulcer. At that point, they are at risk for limb amputation—and for those who receive below-knee amputations, there is a 68% five-year mortality rate. Our driving purpose is to develop and provide products that address this significant and growing need—so that we can help elevate the standard of care for people with difficult-to-heal wounds and save lives and limbs.
It’s a remarkable journey to help these people. Our varied products are sourced from placental tissue donated by mothers in scheduled C-sections from live births in the US. Then, we use a proprietary process, called PURION that maximizes the retention of signals inherent in this reparative and reconstructive tissue. The result is a protective barrier that helps create a healing environment in challenging and hard-to-heal wounds.
Our regenerative tissue pipeline may offer the possibility of bodies healing themselves, now and in the future. We want people with these wounds to consult with a medical expert skilled in wound healing and to be aware of the treatment possibilities. Leadership is more than a product portfolio. It also demands that we invest in our commitment to innovative, peer-reviewed science, which elevates the amniotic tissue category as a whole. For chronic wounds, surgical recovery, and more, we are working to help elevate the standard of care.
What sets your experience with MiMedx apart from the rest of your professional history?
Each opportunity to lead is a privilege. My role at MiMedx is special. While I have championed other companies, my colleagues here are in many ways co-pioneers in the MiMedx journey. They are drivers of transformation—of the company and the ability of our product pipeline to address areas of critical unmet need. Our view is forward-focused, taking on a greater responsibility for our health professional customers, their patients, our employees, and the entire category, to elevate the standard-of-care and its science. What sets this apart from other opportunities is the possibility to transform not only MiMedx but the advanced wound care category as a whole. Today is a starting point for our future as leaders and partners in innovation that can improve people’s lives.
Speaking of your experience with MiMedx, how has the adjustment process treated you since you took on the role in May 2019? Were there any surprises?
The energy, at all levels of the organization, to help others was a welcomed surprise. My arrival and integration into the company was quick and seamless. That’s no small thing, and it reinforces that everyone across the company shares the same passion for patient care. That makes it easy to unite and move ahead at the same pace. Beyond a seamless transition, the passion of the community and talent throughout the organization is exceptional. I’ve had the chance to roll up my sleeves alongside our product development team, our processors, our manufacturing team, and to speak with the salesforce during our national sales meeting in January. In every interaction, I’ve been impressed by the knowledge and commitment to advancing the science—and the standards for the entire sector—in order to save patient lives and limbs. Our employees trust in our products, and their dedication to quality is outstanding.
Are there new products launches or adjunct business deals on the horizon for MiMedx?
Growth is vital for vibrant communities. We are hard at work at MiMedx reaching for operational excellence and organic growth. We also have numerous product advances and new indications in the pipeline as part of our strategy to meet and exceed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. We are conducting clinical trials under FDA Investigational New Drug regulations and oversight to support Biological Licensing Application approval of our micronized product to treat specific musculoskeletal indications. We look forward to sharing these data and other scientific news in the future.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We are facing a national health dilemma, as diabetes becomes a public health epidemic. Already, one in three Americans is prediabetic. Some 90% of these people do not realize the impact of this diagnosis long-term. While people with diabetes are under expert care, many—too many—are at risk for sores that evolve into wounds. These wounds may remain unhealed and grow larger, become infected, or even lead to serious medical conditions that may result in amputation. We are concerned for these people and their families and the front-line health care professionals who seek to provide them with healing and hope. While we will innovate and elevate the category, we must always remember that everything we do is about people and their wellbeing. I would prefer we measure our ultimate success by enabling people to resume their healthy and happy lives. I want my colleagues to keep that mission in mind.