Epitomizing Women Leadership

As the CEO and President of Be The Match BioTherapies®, Amy Ronneberg juggles many roles in her life. She is at the helm of affairs for both the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® and Be The Match BioTherapies, the only cell and gene therapy solutions provider with customizable services to support the entire end-to-end cell therapy supply chain. As the CEO of the companies, her roles are completely synergistic, with the focus on building a strategic business plan to develop and deliver an expanded portfolio of product offerings that accelerate patient access to life-saving therapies. Amy remains an epitome of a strong female leader who can overcome many adversities, in both her personal and professional life. In an interview, she speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts from the interview:

The Biotech Journey 

When the NMDP/Be The Match recognized a clear opportunity to further its mission by supporting the development of next-generation cell and gene therapies, the company extended into the space through tradename Be The Match BioTherapies. Amy says that the then CEO of NMDP/Be The Match offered her the opportunity to lead the new company, Be The Match BioTherapies,  while she was concurrently serving as the CFO of NMDP/Be The Match. “Biotech, outside of blood stem cell transplants, was new to me, so I was a little taken back at first. As I thought more about it, I realized that this was one of the most exciting fields in all industries. The possibilities were endless and this could be how we, as a company, could continue to close gaps for patients in ways we never imagined. I quickly became so excited about the opportunity that any trepidation that I had was gone.” She quickly adds that she fell in love with the industry rather instantly.

Role in Be The Match BioTherapies

One of the pivotal roles Amy plays at Be The Match BioTherapies is to help ensure that patients receive the best product/cell therapy available for their particular situation. She is also leading more than 1300 professionals and 3000 volunteers who help patients receive their life-saving therapies. “The more options patients have, the better. The NMDP/Be The Match represents the patients that are in need of a blood stem cell donor, but an unrelated transplant is not always available or may not always be what is best for their situation. Through Be The Match BioTherapies, we get to serve ALL patients in need, regardless of the type of therapy,” says Amy.

Life-Changing Times

As Amy was preparing for her leadership role of the NMDP/Be The Match, she was also experiencing some trying times in her personal life. Amy reminisces about her personal battle with cancer, and how upon diagnosis, she had intended to withdraw her name from the candidate pool for CFO of NMDP/Be The Match. However, the CEO at the time did not allow her to do so, and instead, the company was by Amy’s side as she fought her battle, and held the position for her when she was ready. She defeated the deadly disease but quickly points out how the disease taught her to live a more purposeful life and to do many of the things she had always wanted to do. One of the most profound realizations Amy made during her battle with cancer was that, before her diagnosis, many of her decisions in life and her career were guided by fear. After her battle with cancer, she was forced to re-evaluate her priorities. She resolved to stop living in fear and start living in the moment.

Current Crisis 

Speaking on the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, Amy laments that, unfortunately, many clinical trials may be delayed, as health systems are required to turn their attention to COVID-19 patients and may therefore face difficulties in accruing patients to other studies. “This may impact how quickly new therapies can get to market. In this new industry, many companies realize that time is money and there will be companies with great potential that may exhaust their cash runway earlier in their trials than originally planned. These could be detrimental for some organizations with amazing potential.” She, however, expresses hope that many organizations have been able to pivot and will remain in the game. But, if COVID-19 continues for another year or more, there could be a real concerning impact on some organizations. Through the expertise of her teams, Be The Match BioTherapies has been able to continue ensuring that critical patients receive their therapies during this trying time. The company has also recently extended its services to support the development of therapies to treat patients suffering from the impacts of COVID-19.

Proudest Moment

Noting that the past three months have been the proudest times in her career, Amy explains how the organization has stepped up more than she could have ever imagined. “Every step of our operations were impacted by COVID-19 – country borders closed, apheresis and collection centers closing or limiting their capacity, donors unwilling or unallowed to go into healthcare facilities, commercial flights canceled and studies delayed. Yet, Be The Match BioTherapies and the NMDP/Be The Match prevailed, and quite honestly, excelled, she noted.

A Piece of Advice

A piece of advice for women who want to join the entrepreneur bandwagon, Amy says, “Don’t throw away your shot. Take every opportunity and dive headfirst into it, no matter how scary it seems, or outside your knowledge-base, you feel. Learn, learn, and learn,” she signs off.

Company: Be The Match BioTherapies

Website: www.bethematchbiotherapies.com

Management: Amy Ronneberg, President and CEO, Be The Match BioTherapies®

CEO, National Marrow Donor Program®/Be The Match®

Founded Year: 2017

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

Description: Be The Match BioTherapies is the only cell and gene therapy solutions provider with customizable services to support any stage of the supply chain, from the point of patient identification through cell harvest, therapeutic intervention & long-term outcomes data collection.