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Behind Brickell: Strengthening teamwork and clinical research

Spotlight on Monica Luchi, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer

 

Brickell continues their commitment to improving the lives of patients. As part of this, they recently welcomed their newest member of the team Monica Luchi, MD, MBA, as Chief Medical Officer. Monica was drawn to Brickell’s determination and novel upcoming research in dermatologic, autoimmune, and neuroinflammatory diseases. As a rheumatologist and immunologist, Monica has long appreciated the field of dermatology. Upon connecting with a few members of Brickell’s leadership, Monica was inspired by their out-of-the-box thinking and sense of community, which together with Brickell’s focus on cutting edge science, persuaded her to join the team.

In addition to the company’s appeal, the active lifestyle and appreciation of the outdoors in Boulder, CO made her decision that much sweeter. “I love getting fresh air and exercise and have enjoyed such activities with my family during our vacations” Monica said, as she shared her insight into maintaining a work-life balance. “I love skiing, hiking, biking, and practicing yoga…and make sure to set time aside every day to get physical, often during lunch breaks too,” but ultimately, “family comes first, second, and third.” The Brickell team shares these sentiments, which was evident during Monica’s first few weeks. “Our Office Manager put up pictures of significant moments in my colleagues’ lives, including recent group pictures during group outings, pictures of the first grandchild of one colleague, and the first child of another. I have learned that building a warm and supportive culture leads to improved productivity, and it was obvious right away that this is a priority of Brickell Biotech,” Monica shared.

Monica is excited to be part of Brickell’s development of investigational agents, including a treatment for primary axillary hyperhidrosis which has completed its clinical trials and will next be evaluated by the FDA, as well as a new drug to be brought into human studies first then branch into different areas of clinical research. With more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, a focus on rheumatology and immunology/immuno-oncology, and experience strategically designing development plans and business collaborations, Monica brings a fresh perspective to Brickell’s research. Prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry, Monica started her career in an academic practice focused on rheumatology and immunology, which she continues to a limited extent. Since entering the biopharma world, she has held various positions leading projects through all stages of pharmaceutical development in several areas both within and outside of immunology.

Throughout her career, Monica has celebrated many achievements. She highlighted one particular success in which she led a project that was facing numerous bureaucratic hurdles. Monica’s determination, hard work, and leadership progressed this drug’s development beyond what was expected. “This experience taught me ‘don’t take no for an answer,’ which I rarely did anyway. Ask why not, and then figure out what is possible.” Monica brings her relentless tenacity to every project.

As a woman in medicine and the biopharma industry, fields often dominated by men, Monica reflected on times in her career where she felt the need to prove herself. “There’s no surprise, the glass ceiling is still there. The situation is slowly improving, but there’s more work to do. You know, I’ve never had a woman boss, which says a lot,” Monica shared. This is one of the reasons why Monica connects with and mentors women in medicine and the biopharma field. She strives to create a culture of teamwork in a field where it can be surprisingly “uncommon for women to build each other up.”

With Monica’s years of industry experience, foundation in rheumatology and immunology, together with her can-do attitude, Brickell is excited to have her on board to explore new areas of clinical research beyond dermatology, particularly in immunology and rheumatology.