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Dominika Kovacs, BEng '98

Chemical Engineering | A Fierce Woman in Life Sciences

Dominika Kovacs’s resume – which includes two decades of experience in executive R&D roles with some of the world’s leading biotechnology companies – offers an undeniable testament to her success since earning her B.Eng in Chemical Engineering at McMaster in 1998.

But last year, her impact in the industry was recognized more publicly. Fierce Pharma named her a 2017 Fiercest Women in Life Sciences Honoree, in recognition of the mark she is making in one of the most competitive and exciting global industries.

It was very meaningful to be recognized among some of her industry’s most powerful players, says Kovacs. “My north star has always been to make a difference.”

Since leaving McMaster, Kovacs has held a range of roles across the biotech R&D spectrum, including in process engineering, clinical development, product strategy and business development, including acquisitions and divestitures. She has worked in North America, Europe and Asia.

She now holds the position of General Manager of Takeda in Portugal.

“I have responsibility for delivering our financial business targets and all our country operations including medical affairs, pharmacovigilance, regulatory, marketing, and sales,” says Kovacs.

“Most importantly, I ensure access to our innovative medicines, such as the first stem cell therapy approved in Europe, to the patients we serve, in a way that supports sustainability of the health care system.

“Sustainability is not only about pricing based on the value of the medicine, but also about collaborating with a variety of stakeholders, including regulators, physicians, hospital administrators and patient advocacy associations, to support the patient journey and experience.”

While her engineering degree has been crucial to her success, Kovacs says her realization that she had “major blind spots” in the areas of finance and corporate strategy led her to complete an MBA.

“My curiosity drove me to understand the entire end-to-end process of delivering medicines to patients, from research to commercialization,” she explains.

She urges students to chase their own curiosity to find success. “What sets me apart today is the knowledge I accumulated in taking on lateral roles and stretch assignments. These experiences gave me insights that improved my judgement, as well as my technical and leadership capabilities.”