Lessons Learned the Hard Way With AbbVie’s Andrew Stewart


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When Andrew Stewart moved into his current role of global eye care general manager at AbbVie, his top two priorities were to help continue to grow Ozurdex and to help get the company ready for the launch of abicipar pegol.

The phrase about “the best-laid plans” proved true. The Food and Drug Administration rejected the company’s Biologics License Application (BLA) for abicipar due to higher-than-acceptable rates in intraocular inflammation. “It was an economic decision and a patient decision to stop moving forward with the product,” Andrew tells OIS Podcast host Firas Rahhal, MD, a retina specialist and partner at Retina Vitreous Associates Medical Group.

Andrew and his team learned from the experience and set about carrying out the strategic vision for all of AbbVie’s retina products worldwide. Part of that vision includes an emphasis on longer-duration, longer-acting drugs, drops, and other therapies, as well as on novel cell and gene therapies.

Andrew brings more than two decades of pharmaceutical industry experience to AbbVie, including long tenures at Allergan (now part of AbbVie), Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck. A New York transplant now based in Southern California, Andrew brings a strong combination of chemical engineering, science, and business experience to his global role.

Listen to the podcast to hear Andrew and Dr. Rahhal discuss:

• How Andrew and his team bounced back after the abicipar decision.
• His experience as an Allergan executive during its transition to AbbVie.
• How he moved from business development in multiple therapeutic areas to global marketing for retina.
• What’s next for AbbVie’s retina business.

Click “play” to listen.