521: Resolve and Realization: A CFO’s Life Sciences Journey | Marc Schegerin, CFO, ArQule

Listen to the Episode Below (00:45:43)

Marc Schegerin’s arrival inside the CFO office at ArQule is either a fortunate accident or a feat of singular career-building precision, for there is little question that ArQule has entered a unique place in time along the arc of its existence—which Schegerin has been trying to reach for more than two decades.

It’s a place where opportunities are quickly realized or lost depending on management’s ability to correctly answer some daunting questions.

“We have to kind of tease out how much money may be required. When do we spend it? What is the end game where we can we have the biggest impact for the most patients?” says Schegerin, while exposing the coordinates of the intersection of medicine and finance.

Suddenly, Schegerin’s arduous career-building path makes perfect sense. ArQule is the destination where his breadth of experience (from Harvard to Goldman Sachs to Biogen) appears uniquely suited to answer these questions and perhaps many more. –Jack Sweeney

Guest: Marc Schegerin

Company: ArQule

Headquarters: Woburn MA

Connect: www.arqule.com

CFOTL: What comes to mind when we ask for a finance strategic moment?

Schegerin: With respect to ArQule in particular, a lot of our most strategic decisions unfortunately are still confidential, even if they were made a little bit in the past. However, let me think. There’s probably one really important strategic decision that we had to make relatively recently, and it’s related to market. Without going into too much of the science, with one of our lead programs, the mechanism of action–the way it works on the cells and the body–actually lends itself to multiple different indications, multiple different diseases. We don’t have funds to do studies on every possible disease for which this drug could work.

So you have to choose. And it’s not immediately obvious whether you should choose an indication that is larger but more crowded–you know, with more competition from other drugs out there, and some of these drugs work and some don’t work as well–or an indication that might be a little bit smaller but where we can be first and best. That decision requires some sort of tactical analysis, but it also requires some strategic thinking that goes beyond the numbers. This is certainly right at the forefront of what we do here and where we have to kind of tease out how much money may be required. When do we spend it? What is the end game where we can we have the biggest impact for the most patients?

This is where we spend a variety of our time, when we’re thinking really down the road about where we want to be and where we want to make the biggest impact. You kind of have to decide now because you have to start a trial in disease X as opposed to disease Y. So that’s sort of something that I can say publicly about our strategic thinking. Obviously, anything related to deals, I should shy away from, but that’s certainly also ripe for lots of strategic thought on the finance side as well. jb