Login  /  Register  /  Search

Medical Alley Association serves the individuals and organizations that comprise Minnesota's health industry by influencing policy, fostering connections and providing critical intelligence to improve the quality of health around the world.

Medical Alley Association serves the individuals and organizations that comprise Minnesota's health industry by influencing policy, fostering connections and providing critical intelligence to improve the quality of health around the world.

Five Questions to our Board Members

Lisa Shafer

1. Briefly tell us a little bit about your organization and your role within it. (Background, products, services, customers that you serve – your general responsibility) 

Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., founded in 1919, is a fully integrated pharmaceutical company dedicated to delivering high-value, high-quality therapies and solutions which measurably improve individuals’ lives. As a US-based, family-owned pharmaceutical company, we pride ourselves on our ability to thrive in a dynamic healthcare environment. Our world is constantly evolving, and we are continually adapting to the ever-changing needs of patients, physicians, pharmacists and healthcare organizations. Where there is a need, we work to deliver solutions that simplify access to treatment, deliver better health outcomes and enhance life. Upsher-Smith has a particular focus on developing therapies for people living with central nervous system conditions, such as seizure disorders.  

As Vice President, Pharmaceutical R&D at Upsher-Smith, I lead our formulation, analytical and drug product development teams as well as our project and portfolio management team.  

2. What is the biggest challenge your company faces today? 

Our biggest challenge is also our greatest opportunity: finding new ways to harness the knowledge and recent discoveries in the field of genetics and molecular science. New technology is beginning to facilitate the creation of customized medications targeting specific diseases based on a patient’s unique DNA or the genetic makeup of their condition.  

To help meet this challenge, Upsher-Smith recently launched Pairnomix, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary which provides personalized genetic research to people living with rare diseases. Pairnomix uses cutting-edge tools and technology to support the company’s mission and vision of bringing outcomes-based programs and solutions to patients.  

3. What do you predict will be the biggest surprise in the next five years that our industry is not yet anticipating? 

The use of technology will continue to transform medical care. Cloud-based Electronic Medical Records and the increased use of patient-centric devices are prime examples.  Another example is the use of technology to enable greater precision with respect to what, how and where drug and device therapies are delivered to particular areas of the body.  

The advancement of technology certainly has its rewards. For example, technology has enabled the development of wearable devices that can detect, and in some cases predict, dangerous health events and can alert an emergency contact. Upsher-Smith believes that as industry ramps up its use of technology to help facilitate ease-of-care, and precision-of-care, it will be essential that all stakeholders work together to leverage all of the benefits these technological advancements can provide. 

4. What do you consider to be the advantages to operating your business in Minnesota’s Medical Alley? 

One of the biggest advantages to operating in Minnesota’s Medical Alley is connectivity to an extensive ecosystem of talent, technology, ideas, inspiration, wisdom, reputation -- all dedicated to advancing healthcare through a diversity of approaches. The value of this connectivity is that it constructs an innovative healthcare cluster that nourishes opportunities to positively impact individuals, their families, companies, the state, the country and the world.  

5. What are the top three skills you consider the most important to be an effective leader? 

  • Adaptability: Being flexible to, and evolving with, the demands of a situation while maintaining one’s authenticity and moral center. 

  • Being present: Being 100% where you are—whether in the work place, with familywith friends or by yourself. In other words, mindfulness. 

  • Curiosity:  A genuine curiosity about things beyond yourself--people, ideas, projects, cultures, surroundings etc., creates a renewable source of inspiration to drawn upon.