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20 Most Inspiring Business Leaders to Watch in 2022

Elizabeth Cormier-May: Improving Women’s Health Diagnostic With Mammogen

Elizabeth Cormier-May
The Executive Headlines

The rise of female leadership in recent times is commendable. We at The Executive Headlines believe in celebrating leadership, especially those who stood out strong against all the odds. Elizabeth Cormier-May, CEO of Mammogen is a perfect example of ideal leadership in the 21st century. She is a veteran in the life science and diagnostic industry, whose focus is on unlocking true precision medicine at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence, Diagnostics, Clinical Research, and Life Sciences. She began her career as an oncological medicinal chemist for Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. 

During her early days, Elizabeth was focused on linking synthetic pathways with system biology. It was then that she developed a strong drive towards personalized medicine. Soon, she left the lab and used her scientific expertise to launch an extremely successful career in sales and marketing. For nearly 20 years, Elizabeth has been developing new markets, products, and companies. She has been persistently working toward the goal of introducing novel options and technologies that enhance patient experiences and save lives. 


Female-led Biotech Company


Recently, female cancers and diseases have been on the rise, affecting millions of women's lives each year. It has directly impacted the day-to-day lives of patients and loved-ones, creating a fear amongst many families that it could be them or that the disease may return. Expressing herself Elizabeth states, “I’m building Mammogen with one mission: to shatter complacency and radically improve the way women’s diseases are detected, diagnosed, and treated.  The mission has never wavered, though it has developed into one that has a distinct focus on filling the gaps in the current continuum of care for women, their families, and their loved ones.”  

Founded in 2020, Mammogen is a female-led biotech company that combines data, technology, science, and personal experience to challenge the status quo. The company focuses on women’s health diagnostics, powered by innovative technology.  Simultaneously, it is Mammogen’s goal to empower and serve its patient community by spanning the chasm between science and support.  They intend to do this by creating non clinical tools that address issues like fears, anxiety, depression, marital challenges, and body shame issues that come hand in hand with breast cancer.  Elizabeth is forming a strong new community with the power to make a real difference. 


DNA vs RNA tests


Mammogen operates under an innovation studio called IV BioHoldings, of which Elizabeth is also the Chief Commercial Officer. Marty Keiser, Founder of IV BioHoldings, is the creator and developer of first-in-category RNA bio platform companies which radically improve the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. This novel distributed company model is defined by its speed, efficiency, and risk management, which is backed by advanced technologies and powerful partnerships. Mammogen’s technology focuses on developing and commercializing multi-gene expression signatures found in the RNA—a polymeric molecule that plays an essential role in the coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. These biomarkers are found in almost all biofluids including blood and saliva, and they provide important information about what’s happening inside the body. By understanding these signatures and detecting the changes in the RNA, it is possible to detect complex diseases like cancer earlier. 

DNA-based technology has been successful in detecting later-stage diseases and helping make important patient care decisions post-diagnosis. However, early detection has eluded DNA based tests and technologies, mostly due to the fact that tumor-derived DNA tests  require a tumor to live, disrupt, and then die for the technology to detect that disease. This makes early detection improbable.  Contrastingly, RNA offers real-time information about the patient’s biological response to disease, unlocking stage 1 detection. Another distinguisher for Mammogen’s novel multi-gene expression signature is that it is non-invasive and painless. Moreover, it is positioned to unlock regular, reliable screening for women who are currently underserved by medical practices. “The technology has the potential to greatly reduce or eliminate false negatives, getting more of the appropriate women into screening earlier, while also reducing or eliminating false positives and enabling the safe monitoring of suspicious nodules. The ultimate aim is that all women, regardless of age, background, financial status or genetics, will have access to safe, early detection—potentially saving millions of lives,” explains Elizabeth. 


Exceptional Products that are Impactful


Mammogen’s genTRUTM breast products are under clinical development while Elizabeth and her team are focusing on building a powerful community of previvors, survivors, and fighters.  The tools they are equipping their community with go beyond clinical diagnostics to create a safe space for discussion, healing, and long-term wellness. Clinically, Mammogen is developing two tests that, combined, will address nearly 100 million women who are currently underserved by traditional guidelines. These tests aim to connect the right women with the right intervention at the right time and to rule out women who do not need unnecessary breast biopsies from these costly (both financially and mentally) and potentially risky procedures.

Currently, Mammogen has a set of 26 mRNA biomarkers to detect breast cancers across all stages and types of the disease, making its genTRUTM breast program truly ground-breaking and first in their class. These products have sensitivity and specificity in the upper 90% range, and are poised to disrupt breast health in the most impactful way possible. 

Apart from this, Mammogen is also actively creating and announcing partnerships with other women-led companies that address all types of clinical, social, physiological, and mental health needs that accompany the previvor, survivor, and family journeys. 


Optimism and Personal Approach are the key


The crucial element to Mammogen’s success is having a personal approach towards business. Elizabeth adds, “My guiding principle is to treat every business and personal decision as if it personally affects me or someone I love.  This makes me work harder, smarter, and more compassionately than I ever knew I was capable of.” Having a personal approach aligns perfectly with Mammogen’s vision and values.  She keeps one of the many patients she has spent time learning form in mind with every clinical, financial or strategic decision she makes.  

Challenges in the journey are inevitable, however, Elizabeth believes it is a better approach to expect challenges and be ready to overcome them. She continues, “I just constantly expect challenges.  When that is my baseline expectation, then I feel ready to navigate them with grace and diligence.” Being an eternal optimist has helped her as a leader to spread positivity and have a strong mindset. Under her leadership, the team at Mammogen has also inherited this outlook and believes that what they do is greater than themselves. This has motivated employees to adopt out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving. The team does not stick to the traditional guidelines because they believe that striving to innovate on the shortcomings of the industry is the only way to achieve meaningful and impactful change.    


True precision Medicine


The constant efforts and hard work of the team have helped Mammogen approach each patient with a comprehensive view of their experience, using biomarker testing to get the right patient to the right intervention at the right time, while paring the appropriate patients unnecessary procedures, cost, and mental anguish.  Mammogen is looking forward to achieving true precision medicine for the patients they serve.  They believe this requires an ensemble approach where diagnostics, imaging, genomics, genetics, and targeted therapeutics, need to come together to provide continued care beyond the “cure” or remission.  Elizabeth concludes, “I believe we are very close to accomplishing true precision medicine for the first time in medical history.”  

Optimistic Perspective: “I look at failure as a key ingredient to success.  No one can be correct all of the time or make the right decisions all of the time, but I can make sure I learn from those ‘failures’ and apply them to a future path towards success.”

Quote: “While the awards, recognitions, and business ‘wins’ are certainly wonderful, my most important achievements to date are watching companies and products that I build and launch actually make a difference in a patient or person’s life.”


Read Full Magazine: 20 Most Inspiring Business Leaders to watch in 2022