X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: Steven W. Spector, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. Age: 42 Life on the pharm: San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm focused on discovering, developing and commercializing drugs taken orally in four areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Arena’s lead drug candidate is lorcaserin, which the company has developed to treat obesity. Lorcaserin selectively stimulates the 5-HT2C serotonin receptor, located in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate satiety and influences metabolic rate. The company said that data from a Phase 2 trial of lorcaserin demonstrated that patients who received the drug experienced “significantly greater weight loss” than patients who received a placebo. The Phase 3 tests now under way involve more than 6,000 patients, Spector said. Phase 3 trials generally precede a decision from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve or not approve the drug. “We’re optimistic about the study, but drug discovery can be an uncertain path,” Spector said. “Ultimately, we’d like to see our products on the market, but that may be a couple of years away.” Arena also has candidates to treat insomnia and diabetes, and has lined up household names as partners, including Merck & Co. and Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc. In January, the company announced favorable Phase 1 clinical trial results for APD668, an oral drug candidate discovered by Arena and being investigated in partnership with Ortho-McNeil for Type 2 diabetes. If further trials are successful, the drug could find a huge market. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are more than 194 million adults with diabetes worldwide, 90% of them with Type 2, the adult-onset form of the disease. The worldwide market for diabetes medications exceeded $10 billion in 2004, of which oral drugs exceeded $6 billion. Arena employs about 500 people, and posted revenue of about $15 million for the nine months ending on Sept. 30, 2007. Daily duties: Spector said what makes work enjoyable is the variety of issues that cross his desk. “The only thing typical is that each day is different,” he said. “I invariably find myself working on matters that I had not intended to be working on when I arrive in the morning.” These include the raising of capital � Job One for biotechs yet to place products on the market � and the bane of every general counsel’s life, Sarbanes-Oxley. The law imposes a raft of duties and obligations on corporate executives, audit committees and boards of directors, and Spector said it can be a challenge making sure everyone is up to speed and performing as the statute intends. In fact, the law is intrusive enough that some corporate attorneys claim it is harming U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. “I think that’s a real concern,” Spector said. “My sense is people realize there’s a pendulum and the corporate wrongdoings like Enron [Corp.] and WorldCom [Inc.] were so over the line that there had to be a reaction to it, and the reaction was Sarbanes-Oxley. It’s a little anti-competitive, but I trust the system will right itself, without impeding our ability to move forward. But it does present challenges.” Among recent highlights for Spector was Arena’s acquisition of a Swiss manufacturing facility with approximately 70 employees, and the negotiation of a favorable tax ruling with the Swiss government. Arena has signed the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, sponsored by the Georgetown University Law Center’s Pro Bono Institute. His biggest challenge, he said, is “being surrounded by very intelligent, accomplished scientists, building upon that knowledge base and putting together the process to have a sustainable company in the long term.” He is an optimist � for a lawyer. “You’re always looking to see what could go wrong, and identifying it before it does go wrong.” Route to the top: The Philadelphia native earned his bachelor’s degree with a major in American social and intellectual history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987, and added a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1991. After law school, Spector landed at the Los Angeles office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he made partner and was a member of the firm’s technology steering committee. Arena was a Morgan Lewis client, and Spector joined the company in 2001, becoming vice president and general counsel. In 2004, he became a senior vice president. Spector has led the biotech through seven rounds of private financing and two rounds of public financing. “My wife is from Mississippi, and she said she wanted to move to the South,” Spector said. “I asked her, ‘What do you consider the South?’ and she said, ‘Either Atlanta or San Diego.’ Soon after that, I got an offer from Arena.” Spector said that Arena has raised some $1 billion since he’s been with it, through financings, partnerships and the sale of real estate. Legal team and outside counsel: Spector supervises a team of 14, including six attorneys, plus paralegals and support staff. He reports to Arena’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Jack Lief. He said that his strong suit is corporate and securities law, but he occasionally hires outside firms including Cooley Godward Kronish of Palo Alto, Calif., and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy of New York for corporate and securities; Fish & Richardson for intellectual property; DLA Piper for international matters; Morgan Lewis for FDA law; and Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton of San Diego for labor law. His main hiring criterion, he said, is excellence in the field. Personal: For fun, Spector favors music, especially New Orleans funk and blues. (He doesn’t play himself, although his wife, Sheri, was a member of the University of Southern California marching band.) He enjoys sports as a participant in marathons and as a long-suffering follower of perennially underachieving Philadelphia sports teams � the Eagles, Phillies, 76ers and Flyers. Spector and his wife are the parents of a daughter, Megan, 7, and a son, Cole, 2. Last book and movie: A House of David in the Land of Jesus, by Robert L. Berman, and Enchanted. “Did I mention that I have kids?” he asked. “I can’t remember the last adult movie that I saw � and actually stayed awake.”

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.