I started my career within the start-up and biotech hub in Vancouver, Canada where I received my MBA as well. After a few years, I moved on to the Venture Capital (VC) environment in Sweden where I also had the opportunity to serve as the CEO of one of the VC firm’s portfolio companies. During these first few years of my career, I gained broad experience in drug development and in running a small biotech. I also built up an extensive network of contacts within the Swedish and Canadian biotech communities.

I have more than 15 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Most of this time I’ve spent honing my business development, partnering and transaction skills in both small and large pharma companies. In my current role as Transaction Director in Business Development Operations, I try to capitalise on the skills and experience gained in my previous roles.  For example, as Head of Licensing at the privately-owned Swiss biotech, Debiopharm, I was responsible for all inbound and outbound transactions, as well as some of their commercial agreements. And as Associate Director in the Scientific Partnering and Alliances team at AstraZeneca, I provided transactional support to the early-stage Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism (CVRM) and Respiratory, Inflammation and Autoimmunity (RIA) teams. Before this, I was Head of Regulatory Product Strategy at Lundbeck, overseeing 14 marketed products in over 100 countries and working with a fantastic team.

When I first earned my pharmacist degree over 15 years ago, I could not even have dreamt that such a journey lay ahead of me. I have learnt so much since that time and I still feel just as curious as I did back then – and ready for more.

Outside of work, I spend most of my time with my family. My three-year-old daughter provides a lovely contrast to work, yet forces me to still use my negotiation skills. I also have a long history as a competitive triathlete; after 20 years in the sport, I have completed seven Ironman races. This has taught me skills that are also useful at work. For example, having a vision for what you want to achieve – and a realistic plan for getting there – helps maintain motivation when the going gets tough. Executing the plan requires discipline and focus and not leaving anything to chance. Yet it also forces you to focus on things you can influence rather than things outside your control – like the weather on race day. And even though you are alone during the race, you depend on a team to get there – my coach, my mechanic, my physiotherapist and my family have all been critical along the way.

Partnering is about bringing together the most talented people with different backgrounds to solve complex tasks, which I find very rewarding. In my role, I am fortunate to experience many different aspects of AstraZeneca’s business and how it all fits together. The energy within these walls is remarkable.

Fredrik Röök Transaction Director, Business Development Operations