Dr. Sean Harper’s career has been driven by one central mission, which he gives as advice to entrepreneurs: “Focus on profound unmet medical needs, rather than market projections. Fill those needs and the rest will follow.”
Named by Time as one of the 50 most influential people in healthcare in 2018, Harper has helped bring well over a dozen novel therapies to patients during his career. In areas as diverse as oncology, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and migraine, Harper’s passion for science and medicine has benefited millions of patients worldwide.
Harper brings a rare breadth of experience to Westlake Village BioPartners. He has experience in both basic research and as a practicing physician. He has led a wide range of clinical research programs, extending from early translational trials to global outcomes studies. As co-founding managing director, Harper will use this breadth of experience to identify promising new therapies and technologies and launch life sciences companies to address significant unmet medical needs.
From 2002 to 2018, Harper worked for Amgen, rising to become head of R&D in 2012. In that role, he managed investments of more than $3.5 billion annually, applying breakthroughs in science to address some of society’s biggest health challenges.
Harper put Amgen on the leading edge of the industry in a number of notable areas, including utilizing the increasing understanding of human genetics in drug target identification and validation and developing novel platforms and modalities to target some of the most difficult-to-treat diseases. Harper was involved in the strategic deployment of Amgen’s venture capital funds, acquisitions of smaller biotech companies, and licensing opportunities.
Earlier in his time at Amgen, Harper held a number of key leadership positions, including establishing the translational medicine group focused on biomarker discovery, development and integration into early-stage clinical studies. He also held positions as head of Global Regulatory Affairs and Safety, and head of Global Development/Corporate Chief Medical Officer.
From 1996 to 2002, he worked in clinical research and clinical genomics at Merck Research Laboratories.
Harper attended medical school at the University of California at San Francisco, completed internal medicine and gastroenterology training at Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Laurette Phillip A. Sharp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.