Executive Spotlight: Brian Grow & Patrick Bilbo, Organogenesis Inc.

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Issue Number: 
Volume 12 Issue 7 - July 2018

With this new feature, Today’s Wound Clinic puts the “spotlight” on members of C-suite teams in the wound care industry. In this edition, we speak with Brian Grow, chief commercial officer, and Patrick Bilbo, chief operating officer, at Organogenesis Inc., Canton, MA. Watch Bilbo's interview here. Watch Grow's video here.

Today’s Wound Clinic (TWC): What should readers know about your company’s vision and mission?

Patrick Bilbo (PB): “Organogenesis is a leading regenerative medicine company that is focused on the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of solutions within the advanced wound care and the surgical and sports medicine markets. The company was founded as a spinoff from technology developed at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in 1985. Since then, we have developed and acquired a comprehensive portfolio of bioactive and acellular wound care products. We also focus on products that support the healing of musculoskeletal injuries, including chronic degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis and tendonitis. We are proud to offer a comprehensive portfolio of products that address patient needs across the continuum of care. Many clinicians are probably familiar with our Apligraf® and Dermagraft® living-cell-based products, which are approved [by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration] for the treatment of chronic wounds. In 2016, we launched our PuraPly line of wound management products, which includes PuraPly AM,™ a product developed to address the challenges posed by bioburden and excessive inflammation. With the acquisition of NuTech Medical last year, we now offer a portfolio that includes amniotic products.” Bilbo

Brian Grow (BG): “We have established robust and extensive customer relationships across the continuum of care, including hospitals, wound care clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician offices, to sell our broad portfolio of products. We are passionate about our comprehensive portfolio of products that allow physicians to personalize solutions to meet the needs of individual patients. The incidence of chronic, difficult-to-heal wounds has increased in part due to an aging population and greater incidence of systemic comorbidities such as diabetes, smoking, obesity, and cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease. Our mission is to provide integrated healing solutions that substantially improve medical outcomes and the lives of patients while lowering the overall cost of care.” 

TWC: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve witnessed in the wound care industry over the course of your career?

PB: “When I started in this field, the idea that we could develop products that help the body regenerate its own healthy tissue to heal wounds might have sounded like science fiction to many. Certainly, the biggest and most impressive changes have come in terms of the scientific advances in the field of regenerative medicine. We are advancing the standard of care in each phase of the healing process through multiple breakthroughs in tissue engineering and cell therapy. We continue to invest significantly to support physician and payer education, preclinical and clinical trials, real-world evidence, and other research to confirm the benefits of our products.”  

TWC: What changes do you expect the industry to experience as this decade draws to a close?

BG: “Healthcare reform has already changed the way healthcare providers and companies operate, and there is certainly more to come. As proposals to overhaul the system proliferate, I expect we’ll see even more focus on pay-for-performance rather than fee-for-service models. If payers shift to reimbursement models that reward for quality and outcomes, Organogenesis is well positioned with this deep body of scientific, clinical, and real-world outcomes data that establish the differentiated benefits of its products.” 

TWC: How does your company intend to impact the improvement of quality wound care research and trials moving forward?

PB: “Organogenesis is well recognized as an innovator that has advanced the science of regenerative medicine, as well as the methodology to manufacture living technology at a large commercial scale and ship it worldwide. We are committed to continuing that tradition as we seek to expand our product portfolio. We have a number of exciting research projects currently underway and in development, including the recent completion of an Apligraf mechanism-of-action study from one of the nation’s leading academic medical institutions; the launch of a 300-patient, 30-center patient registry for our PuraPly product line; and continuing investment in clinical trials and comparative effectiveness research.”  
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VIDEO INTERVIEWS: Learn more about Brian Grow and Patrick Bilbo
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TWC: What is the biggest challenge you face working in wound care?

BG: “Wound care technology and the number of product options in the space have both advanced rapidly, so it can be sometimes challenging for clinicians to sort through the options and determine which products will be best for tackling a particular wound. Clinicians also face the challenge of patients who may not be aware of the seriousness of their chronic wound(s), and, as a result, these patients may not seek help until the wound has progressed to an advanced state. Many patients battling chronic wounds are also contending with multiple comorbid conditions that can thwart wound healing progress. We continue to invest significantly to support physician and payer education on the benefits of regenerative medicine technologies versus traditional therapies, preclinical and clinical trials, real-world evidence, and other research to confirm the benefits of our products. Our comprehensive portfolio of wound care products allows physicians to personalize solutions to meet the needs of individual wound care patients.”  

TWC: Please discuss your personal background, training, career, and experience.

BG: “In 1999, I started selling Apligraf for Novartis and became absolutely fixated on its ability to heal wounds and impact lives. I’ve worn many hats over the past 17 years. I started as a tissue engineering specialist for Novartis during the launch of Apligraf, and worked on a team that introduced the market to the concept of a ‘skin substitute.’ 

When Apligraf briefly went off the market, I took a job selling antibiotics at Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was a great experience that allowed me to understand many of the hospital channels. After a Novartis reorganization in 2004, I came back as a sales specialist working directly for Organogenesis. It’s been my home ever since. I held sales and sales management positions for Organogenesis before transferring to marketing, where I was a product manager for Apligraf with a focus on diabetic foot ulcers. After serving as associate director for the organization, in 2013 I moved back into sales, taking a director of commercial operations (DCO) role. As the DCO-East, I was responsible for sales leadership/commercial operations for half of the United States sales team and the federal sector.”  

PB: “Organogenesis has been my home for more than two decades now. I’ve really been fortunate to witness and be part of the company’s growth and innovation over the years. In addition to Organogenesis, I have worked in cell biology research at Harvard Medical School and at leading medical product companies Stryker (in the biotech division) and Cytyc Corp., now part of Hologic.® Early on, I worked in the Organogenesis labs doing research and development. In fact, when the company was founded, I was on the research and product development team that developed our pioneering product, Apligraf. Since my days in the lab, I’ve had the opportunity to take on various leadership positions in the company, including product development, clinical research, regulatory affairs, and government relations. Currently, as chief operating officer, I oversee daily operations and execution of business strategy across departments, including the expansion of Organogenesis’ leading product portfolio and manufacturing operations to support the company’s planned growth.” 

TWC: What attracted you most to this company? 

BG: “Without question, the amazing science behind the products. The fact that we could manufacture living technology at a large commercial scale and ship it worldwide was astounding. I’m also here because of the patients and the people with whom I work daily. Organogenesis is a ‘patient first’ organization, and has been from Day 1. We have helped clinicians heal many wounds and, ultimately, have changed lives. There is no greater reward than to be able to help improve a life, and I’m fortunate to be able to do so with some of the best.  The wound care business can be challenging on many fronts, but the passion, focus, and resilience of my team motivates me every day.”

TWC: What do you like most about working at this company?

BG: “It’s rewarding to help find solutions to complex medical problems and touch lives in the process. There is no better feeling than learning about a patient who was told he/she would lose their leg to an infected wound, only to learn the leg was saved after using our products. I’m also proud to work at a company that continues to grow — from one original product to a broad portfolio of products — and is a leader in regenerative medicine.”

PB: “After many years in this industry, I can safely say that the passion, dedication, and commitment of our employees at every level is incredibly unique. And it is one of the most gratifying aspects of leading this company. Our staff knows that patients’ health and lives often depend on the work we do and on our products, and it’s something they take very seriously. For example, even in terrible snowstorms that have paralyzed the region, our employees have chosen to stay in the building overnight, just to make sure the lab and manufacturing functions continue. The passion and commitment of this team, from our scientists to our sales force, is really unparalleled.”

TWC: How do you ensure a work-life balance?

BG: “My family pushes me to keep a balance. I enjoy swimming with my kids, visiting Disney World, and family trips to the beach. I’m also an avid basketball fan and try to attend an occasional Boston Celtics game.”

TWC: What book is sitting on your coffee table?

BG: The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth.” 

TWC: When you have time, which show(s) are you binge watching?  

BG: Billions, Cars 2 and a lot of Moana. Our household loves Moana.” 

PB:Game of Thrones, Ray Donovan, Billions.”