After Galit Yaakobovitz relocated from Israel to the United States back in the mid-2000s, there was little question that the move had given her career a boost.
Still, it was the next relocation—the one that would move her and her husband from New Jersey to California—that ultimately allowed her to place both feet on a finance career path.
Back in 2006, Yaakobovitz was a technology implementation consultant living in Israel when she was hired by M-Systems to oversee the implementation of an ERP system for its finance function around the world. However, within 12 months, M-Systems was sold to its flash memory rival SanDisk—which left Yaakobovitz to wonder whether she would have a future at the newly merged firm.Read More
In short order, the management of SanDisk eased her concerns by offering her a spot on the global implementation team for the company’s finance organization, an appointment that required her to relocate to SanDisk’s New Jersey offices.
“At the time, different geographies had their own requirements, so it was very challenging to design a system that would serve everyone globally,” recalls Yaakobovitz, who within 2 years was recruited by SanDisk’s chief accounting officer to spearhead a new revenue recognition systems project at the firm’s Milpitas, California, headquarters.
Upon completion of the systems project, Yaakobovitz received an invitation to join the finance team, which meant severing ties with her technology implementation roots. What’s more, she was moved to the FP&A team rather than the accounting department, where she had spent most of her systems implementation days.
“This was a huge leap for me as far as understanding the business through data analysis and other aspects went,” observes Yaakobovitz, who—after 7 years with SanDisk—next sought to slow things down for a year or two as her young family grew by joining an M&A consultancy promising more manageable hours.
Nevertheless, when a recruiter called her roughly a year later and briefed the veteran FP&A executive not about an IT implementation role but about a senior finance position at an early-stage biotech company, Yaakobovitz was all ears. –Jack Sweeney
“Operate with an open mind and flexibility to enable quick reaction to unexpected situations that will often arise throughout your career. Every challenge is also an opportunity. Don’t hesitate to step into new roles or challenging domains and to take up new responsibilities. Your past experience will always come into play.” –Galit Yaakobovitz, CFO, AmyriAD
Made Possible By
Bold Moments[18:44] Moving to the US and working with international teams. [38:55] Adopting a Career-Journey Mindset. [48:06] Working with mentors.
CFOTL: Tell us about AmyriAD … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Yaakobovitz: When I first heard from the recruiter for AmyriAD, he told me that it was developing a drug for Alzheimer. I didn’t really know much about the Alzheimer market, but after I had spoken to people and learned more about it, I came to understand that our offering is basically a Phase 3 asset, which we are ready to execute. The drug itself helps the Alzheimer patient to relieve the symptoms of Alzheimer disease. So, we’re not changing the disease or modifying it. We’re helping patients to have a better quality of life and extend their memory and their ability to function in such a way that they have few more months or maybe few more years with better functioning. This is a huge relief not only to the patients, but also to their families.Read More
There are two domains in the Alzheimer drug industry. One is composed of the disease-modifying drugs that are trying to remove the plaque from the brain and modify or maybe stop the disease. Years and years of experiments and clinical trials with this have unfortunately failed. This year, though, we received good news about the approval of such a drug that has been developed by Eisai and Biogen. This is great news for the industry, but many years of failures and billions of dollars have been spent on the disease-modifying side of AD drug development.
AmyriAD is focused on the other side, the other domain, which is symptom management. The disease will keep progressing, unfortunately, but we can delay the bad symptoms to a later time or phase. This is all done in a combination therapy, with the existing standard of care, so we’re not depriving patients of getting what’s already available. We’re adding to it.
Our Phase 1 and Phase2 clinical trials have shown that there is an additive improvement with all of these patients. We’re up-regulating the neurotransmission in their brain and improving their memory and cognition and function. This is where we are focused. AmyriAD’s tagline is actually “Memories Are Worth Fighting For.” After all, who are we all as people? We are what we remember, and what we know, and what we want to do. When people can’t remember, it’s really like losing a huge part of their personality. This is what we believe. We want to help people to have better memories and we want to fight for this. This is our mission.
AmyriAD | amyriadtherapeutics.com | Los Angeles, CA.