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Woman of the Week: Exelixis’ Dr. Vicki Goodman

Welcome to the Woman of the Week podcast, a weekly discussion that illuminates the unique stories of women leaders who are catalyzing change throughout the life sciences industry. You can check out all our podcast episodes here.

Throughout her more than 20 years as a noted oncologist and drug developer, Dr. Vicki Goodman has been involved with some of the biggest cancer blockbusters in history, including Bristol Myers Squibb’s Opdivo and Merck & Co.’s Keytruda, and influenced treatment decisions while at the FDA.

Goodman joined Exelixis at a critical juncture, and she has her sights set on elevating the oncology biotech to become a global company with a productive and innovative pipeline. Exelixis’ flagship molecule, cabozantinib, has been successfully commercialized in multiple cancer indications and is in ongoing pivotal phase 3 trials, despite recent disappointing results associated with its CONTACT-01 late-stage trial evaluating the agent in combination with Genentech’s Tecentriq versus the chemotherapy docetaxel in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Also in the pipes are XL092, which is a next-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor; XB002, an antibody-drug conjugate; and XL102, a CDK7 inhibitor.

“It has been a challenge in shifting focus from having a single successful drug to growing a diverse pipeline across multiple stages of development, and then building a team to ensure we can capitalize on the promise of that pipeline,” Goodman said. “In the development of oncology products, we are seeing a lot more diversification of pipelines beyond the immuno-oncology checkpoints … and I think that the pipeline we’re building, including novel biotherapeutics such as antibody-drug conjugates, which can be directly targeted to cancer cells, as well as bispecific antibody molecules, holds a lot of potential in the field.”

Goodman’s journey has been influenced by personal tragedy — her mother succumbed to breast cancer just before she graduated medical school.

“I always think of the patients who have sons, daughters, wives, mothers, fathers — it just comes back to tying everything we’re doing is ultimately for the patients,” she said.

As executive vice president of product development and medical affairs and chief medical officer, Goodman revels in the diverse role, which traverses non-clinical development, clinical regulatory pharmacovigilance and medical affairs.

“There’s never a dull moment, and I like the breadth of challenges that I deal with on a daily basis; I’m somebody who really likes to have an opportunity to grow and learn,” she said. “I think all of the experiences I’ve had over the years — whether at FDA, GSK, BMS, and Merck — has positioned me very well to do this.”

In this episode of our Woman of the Week podcast, Goodman discusses her evolving journey bringing much-needed cancer therapies to market, how she learned to lead by example and how her father influenced her love of science at a young age.

Welcome to WoW, the Woman of the Week podcast by PharmaVoice, powered by Industry Dive.


In this episode, Taren Grom, editor-in-chief emeritus at PharmaVoice meets with Vicki Goodman, MD, executive vice president, product development & medical affairs and chief medical officer, Exelixis.

Taren: Dr. Goodman, welcome to the WoW podcast program.

Vicki: Thank you, Taren. It’s great to be here.

Taren: You have been in your current role for just about a year. Can you share what that journey has been like so far, and then talk about what has surprised you, delighted you, and challenged you.

Vicki: I have been in Exelixis just shy of a year now. I would say I really joined the company at an inflection point. It has been a challenge of shifting a focus from having a single successful drug to really growing a diverse pipeline across multiple stages of development, and then growing a team, building a team really to ensure that we can capitalize on the promise of that pipeline.

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