Unlike many CFOs who tell us that their finance career paths did not intersect with the investor relations (IR) function until shortly before their arrival in the CFO office, Chuck Triano relates that his actually began inside the IR function. In fact, most of the experiences that he credits with shaping his finance leadership portfolio were gleaned during a multi-chapter IR leadership career.
Still, Triano’s expansive IR resume is not unusual among life sciences CFOs, who say that high-calorie IR/communication skills have long distinguished the sector’s finance leadership.Read More
For Triano, whose resume includes a 13-year IR leadership tour with Pfizer and 8 years with Forest Laboratories, the IR path provided an uncompromising view of CFO leadership—one that other members of the finance rank-and-file are unlikely to experience.
According to Triano, it’s not unusual for IR executives to find themselves seated alongside their CFOs and at times actively assisting the finance leader as he or she seeks to achieve a discerning and influential narrative about the business.
Along the way, Triano recalls, his powers of narrative storytelling were put to the test nowhere more than at Pfizer, where at one point he became responsible for “putting down on paper” the company’s 6- to 7-year plan.
Providing investors with an extended view into the future can be a delicate task, but inside the world of pharmaceuticals—where drug patent expirations loom large—providing an over-the-horizon look for investors can be especially hazardous, admits Triano.
Still, Triano realized that there was no turning back.
“We had to make the long-term picture clearer, so we needed to talk about these things and get out in front of them,” reports Triano, who notes that the experience became liberating for the business in a way.
Looking back at the task of helping to create Pfizer’s long-term outlook, Triano says: “I began by thinking, ‘How do we weave a story out of this?’” –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Xalud Therapeutics … what will its offerings be?
Triano: Xalud is working in the area of inflammation. We all know acute inflammation: You get an infection in your fingernail, it turns green, and it gets warm. Well, that’s your immune system. Then the infection’s cleared away and you’re back to what we call homeostasis, or equilibrium. Inflammation is actually implicated in a lot of things. A lot of it is unseen, as in osteoarthritis, which can be very, very debilitating, and ALS, multiple sclerosis, and neuropathic pain. There are a lot of things that happen when the body makes an immune response, tries to fight something, but then doesn’t shift back to equilibrium. It continues to think that there is something there. The body is signaling, “We want more inflammatory action!”—even though the result now is that you’re causing a problem because there’s too much inflammation in your body and it’s resulting in pain, for example, or in some neurodegeneration as with ALS.Read More
What Xalud does has to do with this protein in the body called IL-10, a cytokine (although the name isn’t important, as our bodies are all chemicals anyway), which is a regulator of your immune system. In a normally functioning body, IL-10 will say, “All right, warning, the danger is over—we can now work to restore this balance in the immune system so that it’s not working overtime.” Sometimes the body doesn’t make enough, so that’s why you may get it. IL-10 works to downregulate or suppress the immune system a bit.
Xalud has taken IL-10 and put it into an injectable for the body. If you have what is our lead indication, knee osteoarthritis, you get an injection in your knee. Literally, there is DNA messaging that is saying, “Make more IL-10 in the knee area because the body’s not making enough.” So, we’re regulating the immune system with an injection, but it’s a type of gene therapy because it’s not doing anything else anywhere in your body other than where we inject it. It is going right to the cause of the inflammation and restoring a balance to it.
“Be sure to continue building your personal “brand” in terms of integrity, credibility, knowledge base and authenticity. Strive to become a relied upon and sought out source for reactions, ideas and a general sounding board by both peers and those senior to your function.” – Chuck Triano, CFO, Xalud Therapeutics
Xalud Therapeutics | www.xaludthera.com | New York, NY