Evolution Road Advisory Board

Evolution Road’s CEO Advisory Board provides broad and deep external industry perspective to ensure Evolution Road stays focused on the areas of highest potential commercial impact for our clients.

Sharon DeBacco
Vice President Customer Communications
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals

Following a career in ad agency art direction, Sharon has focused the last 25 years on Rx pharmaceutical marketing. During her career, not only has Sharon cultivated various industry-leading consumer marketing launches and strategies, but she always made sure to keep the patient at the center by creating exceptional consumer experiences. Forging ahead in today’s customer-centric, technology-enabled world, Sharon leverages fresh approaches that address changing market dynamics and emerging trends and technologies.

In her current role, Sharon serves as VP of Customer Communications for Ironwood Pharmaceuticals where she oversees customer promotion and communication across customer groups. Her work across product portfolios serves to influence customer behavior, build brand equity, and optimize brand value. An inductee into the DTC Hall of Fame, she continually optimizes enterprise promotional media, channel, and capability investments to improve efficiency and productivity, as well as raising the bar for execution excellence.

Prior to joining Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, she ran her own consulting firm; had a 20-year tenure with AstraZeneca (formerly Astra Merck), launching several blockbusters (including Prilosec, Nexium, and Crestor); and spent roughly 15 years on the agency side, focusing on B2B, consumer and healthcare clients.

Following a career in ad agency art direction, Sharon has focused the last 25 years on Rx pharmaceutical marketing. During her career, not only has Sharon cultivated various industry-leading consumer marketing launches and strategies, but she always made sure to keep the patient at the center by creating exceptional consumer experiences. Forging ahead in today’s customer-centric, technology-enabled world, Sharon leverages fresh approaches that address changing market dynamics and emerging trends and technologies.

In her current role, Sharon serves as VP of Customer Communications for Ironwood Pharmaceuticals where she oversees customer promotion and communication across customer groups. Her work across product portfolios serves to influence customer behavior, build brand equity, and optimize brand value. An inductee into the DTC Hall of Fame, she continually optimizes enterprise promotional media, channel, and capability investments to improve efficiency and productivity, as well as raising the bar for execution excellence.

Prior to joining Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, she ran her own consulting firm; had a 20-year tenure with AstraZeneca (formerly Astra Merck), launching several blockbusters (including Prilosec, Nexium, and Crestor); and spent roughly 15 years on the agency side, focusing on B2B, consumer and healthcare clients.

Melinda Decker

Digital Health Consultant

Formerly Oncology Therapeutic Area Head for AstraZeneca’s Digital Therapeutics team

Melinda Decker is a global biopharmaceutical leader with a rare mix of both commercial and R&D expertise. She has broad therapeutic experience with biologic, small molecule and digital health products, across both specialty and primary care, and with both global and local markets.  

Melinda is currently a digital health consultant, most recently leading digital health strategy for a mid-sized pharma company focused in CNS.  Melinda serves as an advisor to Catalyst within the MIT-Harvard Health Science & Technology program. She is also an advisor to Mymee, a JLabs Digital Therapeutics company that uses data driven health coaching to help people with autoimmune disease and to HealthMode, a digital health endpoints company focused on AI-enabled clinical trials and validating new digital biomarkers.

Prior to consulting, Melinda was the Oncology TA Head for AstraZeneca’s Digital Therapeutics team, focused on improving patient outcomes through digital health. In this role, she worked to integrate medicines with technology such as connected devices, sensors, and smart packaging across the entire development cycle of launched, pre-launched and pipeline products. Philadelphia Business Journal honored her as a 2018 Health Care Innovator for this work. 

She holds an MS in Biochemical Engineering and an MBA in Finance and Marketing.

Nancy Phelan
CEO
Adhera Therapeutics

Nancy is an accomplished senior executive and thought leader with over 20 years’ success in the healthcare and biotech industries.  She is a passionate and compassionate leader of high performing teams with deep expertise in designing effective customer marketing strategies and building commercial capabilities that drive performance. 

Fueled by seeing the impact new treatments can have on people who have chronic disease first hand, she pursued a career in healthcare.  Nancy’s broad commercial leadership experience includes global commercial operations, marketing, sales, sales management, and market access, across specialty and primary care.  Nancy has held roles of increasing responsibility at Schering-Plough, now Merck, Wyeth, now Pfizer, and Bristol-Myers Squibb where she held roles of increasing responsibility including Head, Worldwide Commercial Operations for all priority markets and therapy areas. 

Nancy is currently CEO, Adhera Therapeutics and serves as an Independent Board Member for FemmePharma Consumer Health, is on the Board of Managers for HATCH@Takeda, and is an Advisory Board Member for several organizations including Eved, Evolution Road, Innate Biologics and the Pharma Digital Health Roundtable.

Brenda Raphael
Vice President of New Products and Launch Excellence
Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Brenda Raphael has newly joined Novartis Pharmaceuticals as the Vice President of New Products and Launch Excellence.  She is responsible for preparing for commercialization one of the richest pipelines of new brands in the industry.  She and her team are charged with developing strategies and executing market development programs that will enable breakthrough medicines to reach their full potential in the market.  This requires her to uncover deep customer insights and activate across a broad range of customer and stakeholder groups.  

Her passion is developing brands, coming to this role with more than 20 years of experience in leading successful billion-dollar, customer-focused brands, most recently from Bayer’s over-the-counter division and prior experience with Pfizer, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble.  Her strengths in generating insight-led strategies and developing strong teams form the foundation for her work in new products.  In addition, she’s got her sights set on developing a “learning organization” that gains insight from launches gone well, and those that have gone south from across and outside the industry.  Her aim is not only to have the best launches in the industry, but also to develop an entire organizational strength in bringing brands to their full potential.

Ms. Raphael currently lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, children, and their adorable little white dog.

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