In my current position I wear two hats. I am both the Head of Respiratory Global Medicines for AstraZeneca and CEO of Pearl Therapeutics. My overall responsibility is to lead the development of the Respiratory pipeline from Phase II through to global registration. The teams that I lead are also accountable for late-stage and life-cycle clinical management programmes.

I spent the last ten years building a small start-up company, Pearl Therapeutics, from five people and a concept, to more than 250 employees. At Pearl Therapeutics, we have successfully progressed a product from concept through to approval and then commercialisation, and we currently have several other exciting programs in development.

I have more than 20 years’ leadership experience in the development and commercialisation of respiratory products, working for pharmaceutical companies such as Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. Nothing motivates me more than working with teams that discover new treatments and rapidly study molecules in the hope that they may evolve into life-changing products.

I enjoy my role because it allows me to leverage AstraZeneca’s expertise and fifty-year heritage in Respiratory in conjunction with the speed and agility innate to Pearl Therapeutics and other start-up companies. The merger of biotech and big pharma culture has proven to be a recipe for success for AstraZeneca in Respiratory and is reflected in our current pipeline, which is impressively broad and includes a range of inhaled, oral, and biologics. There has never been a more exciting time to be working within the Respiratory field, and, in my view, AstraZeneca is the most exciting place to be working in this space.

As an active member of the American Thoracic Society (ATS), and an appointed member of the ATS committee on Drug Device Discovery and Development (DDDD), I have initiated and/or helped organise conferences for the ATS, including the annual Bear Cage conference, a symposium on wearable devices (ATS 2017). This year, I am especially excited to co-moderate a symposium on COPD disease modification at the ATS Conference. I am also a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.


There has never been a more exciting time to be working within the Respiratory field, and, in my view, AstraZeneca is the most exciting place to be working in this space.

Colin Reisner Head, Respiratory Global Medicines, AstraZeneca and CEO of Pearl Therapeutics

Outside of my roles at AstraZeneca and Pearl Therapeutics, I write extensively and regularly speak at financial and academic healthcare conferences. I am particularly looking forward to this year’s Respiratory Innovation Summit, which is a forum that, together with my colleagues on the ATS DDDD, we have been working to create over the past two years to help academic institutes, venture capitalists, biotechs and pharmaceutical companies to collaborate.

I graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, Medical School, South Africa and completed my training in Internal Medicine followed by fellowship training in Allergy and Immunology at National Jewish, Denver, Colorado, US. Following this, I was an assistant consulting professor of Allergy and Immunology at Yale University, Connecticut, US and also at Duke University, North Carolina, US.

Key Achievements

When I joined Pearl Therapeutics in 2007, there were just five employees. During the following five years, I helped raise more than US$150m, oversaw the expansion of the company to more than 250 employees, and led the design of a product from initial concept through to regulatory submission.

Over the last 5 years, I am incredibly proud to have transformed Respiratory Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca from a portfolio with two products to an industry leading pipeline, which is impressively broad and includes a range of inhaled, oral, and biologics.