From startup to $1B company, Gordon Vanscoy steers PANTHERx through constant change

In addition, Vanscoy has been approached by a number of people who want to buy PANTHERx, and as the business has become more successful, rumors about its future are inevitable.

“The rumors are out there because people perceive, ‘Well, they’re going to cash in,’” he says. “The reality is, we’re not at that point yet. There’s just so much more opportunity for us to grow this company and have fun in the process and do the job correctly.”

The heavy lifting has already been done. PANTHERx’s reputation has been developed. Patients know the company. Many biopharmaceutical companies have relationships with it, where it is the exclusive provider of their medication. And Vanscoy is steadfast in his commitment to PANTHERx’s mission and his joy at growing the company and filling its parking lots.

“It’s just phenomenal, being able to provide careers for this number of people — creating career paths for our associates — and serving more and more patients living with rare and devastating diseases,” he says.

 

Takeaways:

  • As the company grows, develop your people along with it.
  • Understanding when and how to adapt is crucial.
  • Know what’s critical to your culture and make that a priority.

 

The file:

Name: Gordon Vanscoy, Pharm.D., MBA
Title: Chairman and CEO
Company: PANTHERx Rare, RareMed Solutions

Born: McKeesport, Pennsylvania
Education: Bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and MBA, University of Pittsburgh; doctor of pharmacy, Duquesne University

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it? My dad worked 30-plus year in the mill, but he also worked on the side as a plumber. I would go out on jobs with him, starting when I was 7 or 8 years old, and I did that until I went to college.

He was the epitome of a mentor. It’s where I learned a lot of my people skills — how to treat people and how to have fun in the process.

What was the hardest management skill for you to learn? The value of networking. You don’t realize when you’re young, as you’re developing, how important the people around you will be and how small the world of your particular business is, even across the country. Your reputation is everything.

Where might someone find you on the weekend? I live part of the time in Florida, so they would probably find me next to my wife — we’re inseparable — in my boat on the Gulf of Mexico, listening to either Kenny Chesney or Jimmy Buffett, with a cold drink in my hand.

Is there another job you’d like to try? I love what I do; it’s not work. I take calls 24 hours a day. Work and my outside life blend together, and I love it that way. I want to be aware of issues as they arrive, not the day after, the morning after, the weekend after.

But I’ve always admired the Supreme Court justices — their wisdom and ability to actually shape this country, more than any president has — so that would be a cool job to have.

On a lighter note, when I ran a drug information center for UPMC, I used to do a lot of TV spots about medications and such. I wouldn’t mind having Sanjay Gupta’s job, CNN chief medical correspondent.