John Crowley, a pioneering biotech leader who used his family’s own struggles to start Princeton-based Amicus Therapeutics, a company that is developing needed cures and innovations, was named the new CEO of BIO, the national organization under which BioNJ operates.
The announcement is substantial to New Jersey for two reasons:
- At a time when New Jersey has tremendously upped its game as a center for life science innovation, having a Jersey resident as head of the national organization can only be helpful (Crowley is a former BioNJ board member);
- Crowley is an incredible thought leader in all things bio and life science, making his ascension good for the sector and society.
That’s the way Debbie Hart, CEO of BioNJ, and many others see it.
“We are ecstatic that John Crowley, founder and executive chairman of New Jersey’s own Amicus Therapeutics, has been named the new president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization,” she said.
“John is an extraordinary human being with much to offer and a transcendental story that moves even the most hardened hearts and minds. John will bring his clear vision, passion for innovation and true leadership, as well as the ability to tell the industry’s story in new and compelling ways, to this new chapter of his life.”
Crowley is best known for his role as an entrepreneur in the biotechnology industry following the 1998 diagnosis of his two youngest children with Pompe disease, a rare and often fatal neuromuscular disorder. His children’s diagnosis inspired him to cofound a biotech company to develop a treatment that he credits with ultimately saving his children’s lives.
The Crowley family journey was depicted in the major motion picture “Extraordinary Measures,” starring Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell. In 2005, Crowley went on to help found Amicus Therapeutics, a now 500-plus-person global biotechnology company, where he served as chairman and CEO from 2005-22. He presently is the company’s executive chairman. He will remain in that role until he transitions to BIO.
BIO officials said Crowley’s decades of biotech experience and deep passion for the field will be pivotal in helping BIO reimagine how the world thinks about drug development. He is a strong supporter of policies that empower innovation, enable entrepreneurship and put patients first.
Crowley also has been a leading voice globally for universal access to medicines, especially for children, people living with rare and other life-threatening diseases, and those with disabilities.
BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the U.S. and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research & development of innovative health care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.
As the father of two children living with a rare disease, he brings a unique understanding of the challenges patients, their families and caregivers face, as well as the transformative opportunities that biotechnology presents to alleviate human suffering. This has been his life’s mission.
“In every role I’ve held in my life — biotech founder, U.S. Navy intelligence officer, husband and most importantly, father and grandfather — I have asked myself, ‘What is the mission?’” he said. “When I founded our first company, the mission was to create a therapy to save our children and others from Pompe disease. Today, there are untold millions of children and adults waiting for ‘their’ cures and treatments – as well as literally billions of people who need agricultural advances and climate solutions that biotechnologies can provide.
“The mission of BIO is the mission of our members: cure patients, protect our climate and nourish humanity. I am humbled and honored to lead BIO as we enter this golden age of medicine and the coming age of biotechnology. And I am eager to continue working alongside our members and dedicated BIO leadership and staff to drive this mission forward.”
In 2011, Crowley was the recipient of BioNJ’s highest honor: the Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership.
Hart said she has treasured working with Crowley in the past and is eager to continue to do so.
“We are so fortunate at BioNJ to have witnessed firsthand John’s inspirational spirit and remarkable talent,” she said. “Having served on the board of BioNJ for many years, he knows the impact of advocating for biotech at the state and local levels. We look forward to supporting and learning from him in his new role.
“John is the right leader at the right time. We wish John all the very best as he embraces this new challenge the only way he knows how: with drive and conviction ‘Because Patients Can’t Wait.’”