Extensive and relevant background in human and animal health? Check. Success building effective teams that produce results? Check. Proven track record and strong leadership skills? Check.
It’s no wonder that the new president and Chief Executive Officer of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute (KCALSI), Dr. Wayne Carter, was described as “a perfect choice,” by the organization’s retiring president Dr. Dan Getman.
Indeed, Carter brings extensive scientific expertise to his new role, which he assumed June 18. He served most recently as the vice president of global research for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and prior to that, as the executive director of global clinical technology for Pfizer Human Health, where he worked 11 years. He also worked for Bayer Pharmaceuticals and was in private practice as a veterinarian. In addition, Carter also brings strong leadership experience and a deep understanding in how to quickly get new technologies to market.
“Wayne brings a wide range of technical, business and leadership skills to KCALSI and the region,” said Dr. Patrick James, chairman of KCALSI and senior managing director of Quest Diagnostics. “We are confident that he’ll continue the momentum to accelerate life sciences in the region.”
Carter explained that his positions in both human and animal health research helped him appreciate how technology could help advance research and medicine.
“I spent about 11 years leading clinical technology development at Pfizer, and that turned me onto the power of different technologies and what they could do to help us make better, quicker decisions in the drug development process,” he said.
“KCALSI takes all of the different aspects of research and medicine and works to create economic development opportunities within Kansas City and the region,” he said. “That’s what really excites me about this job.”
Carter is enthused about what KCALSI has achieved in the past and what it can accomplish in the future. He says his first 60 to 90 days on the job will be spent getting to know KCALSI’s board of directors, the strategic partners and key stakeholders, and the members of the organization to understand their needs, their concerns and how best to serve them.
“I want to know what their vision is for life sciences and take their ideas and mold them together into a plan for our future,” Carter said. He’s confident that plan will include two existing KCALSI projects: supporting the translational research initiative (one of the Big 5 initiatives announced by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce) and ensuring the long-term success of the Center for Animal Health Innovation as critical components of the KC Animal Health Corridor.
“The support of translational research in Kansas City will be one of my main objectives,” Carter said. “We are beginning to apply new scientific information into clinical translation opportunities. Building upon the success of the $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) and establishing an institute for translational medicine would be incredibly valuable for the entire region.”
The Center for Animal Health Innovation, which opened last April at Kansas State University’s Olathe campus, was one of KCALSI’s biggest accomplishments, Carter said. The Center promotes collaboration among the animal health industry and academic researchers to accelerate the development and commercialization of new technologies, an area in which Carter has a great deal of experience.
“There is tremendous strength in the collaborations in our region,” Carter said. “You see it in the KC Animal Health Corridor, in the Frontiers* initiative and you see it in KCALSI. It creates incredible opportunities to develop and promote the life sciences. In addition, KCALSI was instrumental in bringing the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) to the region, a high-risk biological research facility. NBAF is critical to our country’s future safety and we must ensure a positive funding scenario.”
*Frontiers is a partnership of three medical centers, 10 health systems and 15 community organizations in the Kansas City region that are working together on translational research projects. Frontiers recently received a five-year, $20 million Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.