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The Tragedy and Evolution of Marc Beer

In the early 2000s, Marc Beer was just as above-average pharmaceutical sales and marketing expert. His career began after graduating from Miami University; he joined Genzyme. It didn’t take long for him to become the company’s Vice President of Global Marketing and be put in charge of promoting the company’s newest product line.

Genzyme is one of the few pharmaceutical companies trying to develop treatments for rare diseases. Rare diseases aren’t profitable, so most companies consider researching and developing solutions for them wasteful. Beer joined Genzyme because it was different, and his first global assignment involved selling products to the more than 350 million people who are medically underserved.

After seeing and meeting some of the people he helped by marketing Genzyme, he realized he could do more if he had more control over the company. By 2000, he left Genzyme and founded his own company; ViaCell.

ViaCell quickly blossomed into a cutting-edge biotech company with 300 employees. Five years later, he took the company public and got the attention of several investors. Two years later, one interested party bought ViaCell for $300 million. By 2007, Beer was on top of the world; he had everything, including a loving family.

Sadly, his greatest success was followed by his greatest tragedy. Shortly after the sale to PerkinElmer, Beer’s wife died suddenly. Overcome with grief, he turned attention toward his family and focused on his raising his three children. He walked away from his illustrious career for two years, but his daughter encouraged him to return to work.

He spent every morning for two years telling his children to “live with purpose” but never took that advice for himself. After his daughter turned his words on him, he realized he needed to lead by example. His daughter’s encouragement inspired him to relaunch his entrepreneurial career and just in the knick of time.

Dr. Ray Iglesias, a gynecologist with 35 years of experience, was looking for a partner to help develop devices and therapies for women with pelvic floor disorders. Throughout his career, Dr. Iglesias had performed thousands of pelvic floor surgeries, all of which he believed could’ve been avoided.

For over a decade, he’d been trying to develop technologies that would allow women to detect and treat their disorders and rely on surgeries as a last resort. Pelvic floor disorders can cause pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. According to one study, nearly 25 percent of women suffer from these disorders.

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