Sean McDonald

 Sean McDonald is no stranger to the Pittsburgh Pacesetter ranks, having been

Sean McDonald

 recognized now for the third year in a row — and for good reason. As president and CEO of Precision Therapeutics Inc., a life-science technology company focused on cancer research and development, McDonald has led the company to impressive growth and advancements in the industry.

He believes Precision Therapeutics can become the next big life sciences success story, and over the past few years, every sign points to that statement becoming more and more of a true fact. From raising increasingly larger amounts of venture capital dollars each year to developing new products and hiring new employees, the company is firing on all cylinders.

The company has been able to triple its employee base in the last three years, adding more than 20 employees just in the last six months. Precision has also doubled its sales force over the past year. Additionally, a second clinical laboratory and a third research facility have been opened, as well. The additional work force and space will allow the company to expand its work to meet doctors’ and patients’ needs by being able to personalize the treatment that is best for the patient.

McDonald’s focus is to advance clinical trials and research in an effort to improve the quality of life for the patient. As the company continues to grow, McDonald leads his work force by challenging his employees and himself to develop creative solutions for the constantly changing business climate. The dynamic corporate culture at Precision encourages employees to educate themselves further by attending education, research and advocacy events. In order to accomplish this, he encourages input and accountability from his employees and maintains an open-door policy. The promotion of education allows employees to stay ahead of the fast-moving industry and encourages career advancement.

McDonald’s commitment to scientific advancements stretches beyond the company. He serves as chairman emeritus of the Pittsburgh Technology Council and sits on the board of the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative. He is chairman of the board for Aethon, a company backed by venture capitalists that is trying to develop autonomous robotics for the health care industry. McDonald also sits on the board of directors for Philips Respironics and several other technology companies.

McDonald has definitely made a positive impact within Precision, the Pittsburgh region and the industry. He’s shown his willingness and proven his ability to master a wide range of unfamiliar issues in the complex world of oncology, including clinical studies, technical laboratory processes, reimbursement and billing, and physician relationships.

McDonald constantly challenges himself to be a better leader. He has created a company that is dedicated to the ongoing clinical trials and research to better provide physicians and patients with actionable clinical information to personalize cancer treatment. He continues to drive the company into the development of genomic and proteomic profiles to predict tumor response to chemotherapy.

These trials and extensive research have led to the company’s flagship diagnostic test called ChemoFx, which helps to determine the most effective type of chemotherapy to treat individual patients’ tumors. It has also led to an exclusive partnership with Med BioGene Inc., a Vancouver-based life-sciences company that is helping to develop a lung cancer test called LungExpress Dx.

McDonald showed his unwavering commitment to the company once again by continuing to secure investors to raise venture capital dollars. Due to the company’s continued growth and advancements, Precision has received more interest from larger venture capital firms, and in 2010, he secured $33 million in new investment funds — Precision’s largest round of capital. That round of funding brought the company’s total venture capital intake past the $100 million mark.

McDonald doesn’t just recruit investment dollars, but he has also been instrumental in recruiting and retaining top-notch executives with proven track records to lead the management team and attract key opinion leaders in oncology to serve as speakers and advisers for the company.

Through McDonald’s commitment to continuing the strides that the company has made in cancer research, Precision has showed an annual growth rate of 25 percent and now has nearly 300 employees. He has defined Precision as one of the leaders in the personalized medicine arena and is expanding its unique capabilities to include several platforms to meet the needs of doctors and patients.

HOW TO REACH: Precision Therapeutics Inc., (800) 547-6165 or