Michael P. Bailey Builds AVEO Oncology on Foundation of Strong Employee Culture and a Focus on Cancer Patients

Admired Business leaders to watch


Michael P. Bailey, President and CEO, AVEO Oncology, is committed to the mission of passionately pursuing a better life for patients with cancer. Mr. Bailey is a firm believer in being purpose or mission-driven, realistically optimistic, accountable, and humble. He values and respects others’ opinions, learns from setbacks, and always stays fiscally responsible. He humbly reminds us, “One critical principle of successful leadership that is often overlooked is to ensure we have fun as we progress on our business journey.

AVEO Oncology is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with cancer.  AVEO Oncology focuses on areas of high unmet need in oncology and developing medicines that address the significant needs of cancer patients and caregivers.

AVEO Oncology focuses its resources on the development and commercialization of its cancer medicines in North America, while leveraging partnerships to develop and commercialize oncology products in other global markets.

Bailey’s Leadership – Forged in Fire

Mr. Bailey joined AVEO Oncology as the company’s Chief Commercial Officer in 2010.  He joined AVEO because he recognized the significant potential in the lead agent, FOTIVDA (tivozanib), and was impressed by the company’s robust pipeline. In 2013, after the company received a complete response letter (CRL) for FOTIVDA from the FDA, Michael assumed the role of Chief Business Officer. Later in January 2015, he was appointed as CEO and President.

He approached the many early challenges at AVEO with passion, determination and the steadfast commitment to the patient focused mission. Since the beginning, he was focused on making sure the company’s medicines and services delivered meaningful benefit to  cancer patients.   He and his team take pride in delivering incredible value to society as they work in life science, especially oncology. 

Michael feels incredibly fortunate to have had mentors who encouraged him throughout his career: starting at Smithkline Beecham, he progressed into roles of increasing responsibility at Genentech, ImClone (now Eli Lilly), and AVEO Oncology.

"Our failures could limit someone’s ability to live longer, and our successes can mean one more birthday, one more graduation, and one more holiday with loved ones."

FOTIVDA – A Battle Won for Patients

As the new CEO of AVEO Oncology, Bailey was confronted with the challenge of convincing the board of directors to support a second Phase 3 study for FOTIVDA. He risked his career and, possibly, the company on the idea that a risky, time-consuming, and costly phase 3 trial for FOTIVDA was the best course to take for both the patients and the company.

Fortunately for the patients, the gambit paid-off.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved FOTIVDA in March 2021.  Subsequently, AVEO successfully launched FOTIVDA in the U.S.

After successfully executing the pivotal study and gaining approval in the US in 2021, again, we bet the company that AVEO could successfully commercialize FOTIVDA in the US on its own,” he adds. “As a result of the incredible team we assembled and their hard work, commitment to our mission, and perseverance through challenging times, we have succeeded on both fronts, a set of achievements that paces AVEO Oncology in a very exclusive group within our industry.” 

Throughout his career, Mr. Bailey has faced a myriad of challenges. He claims that biotech and pharmaceutical executives face many of the same challenges as other business executives. However, the biggest difference is that our decisions as life science leaders have the potential to positively impact the lives of patients battling horrible diseases, such as cancer.

Our failures could limit someone’s ability to live longer, and our successes can mean one more birthday, one more graduation, and one more holiday with loved ones. It is a distinct privilege and, at the same time, an incredible responsibility to bear,” said Bailey. “I am here to make sure we can improve the lives of patients. Continuing to support FOTIVDA taught me many lessons about resilience, persistence, and commitment.”

During the first quarter of 2022, FOTIVDA became the leading drug for its specific kidney cancer indication. Michael considers this a leading indicator of progress towards the company’s goal of becoming the overall market share leader and standard of care for kidney cancer in this setting. As a result of such victories, he and his team are even more motivated to pursue their mission.

A Stronger AVEO Post Pandemic

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, AVEO Oncology instituted employment policies fostering a flexible hybrid model. This hybrid model is ensuring employees feel comfortable returning to the office as well as enjoying the flexibility to work remotely. This model provides an equitable environment for those who prefer to work remotely, as well as a clean and safe working space for all who desire to return to the office. The AVEO Oncology culture has always included fun employee activities beyond the office setting, including lunches, dinners, special events, and fundraisers. These activities are provided to enhance the team’s culture and unity.

Michael highlights that with the FDA approval of FOTIVDA in March of 2021, followed by a year of successful commercialization, the company is in the enviable position of being able to fund employees’ continued patient-focused efforts. “We are thankful to be in this position, especially in this difficult financial market,” says Michael.

Most importantly, it has achieved these successes amid the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the worst global economic downturns in history. The company has attained success in an incredibly competitive space where it competes against some of the world’s biggest and most successful pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, BMS, and Pfizer, just to name a few.

Michael P. Bailey Builds AVEO Oncology on Foundation of Strong Employee Culture and a Focus on Cancer Patients
Michael P. Bailey

A robust and promising future

Michael claims that his company is one of the fortunate biotech companies that is generating revenues during these challenging economic times. Based on the latest forecasts, the company feels confident in generating about $100 million to $110 million in full-year 2022 FOTIVDA U.S. net product revenue guidance.

At the moment, Michael and his team are looking to introduce more products to the commercial portfolio through acquisitions, in-licensing, or other means. “Given that valuations have recently sagged for many biotechnology companies, we believe there are reasonably priced acquisition opportunities that can be a win-win for a company that has great products but may not have the financial resources to commercialize them,” Michael asserts.

In addition, AVEO Oncology is supporting numerous studies with FOTIVDA in many therapeutic settings, including earlier-stage kidney cancer and liver cancer, among other cancers. The company is also looking forward to combining FOTIVDA with several other drugs. Moreover, AVEO Oncology is developing Ficlatuzumab, a targeted therapy currently being evaluated in HPV-negative head and neck cancer, a very challenging disease state with a patient population that has a very poor prognosis.

AVEO has also collaborated with numerous other companies to advance patient care, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Astra Zeneca, and Merck KgAa, among others. However, he is focused on building and expanding AVEO Oncology to continue to achieve its mission to improve the lives of cancer patients.

Michael hopes his legacy is reflected in the faces of those who have benefited from AVEO Oncology medicines. He privileged to be able to work in this industry, and he will continue to do good work for the patients.

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