Quality of Life Depends on Brian Beeler

Horizon Pharma’s EVP makes lifesaving treatments more accessible for patients around the world

Brian Beeler, Horizon Pharma (Photo: Caleb Fox)

Brian Beeler may be an attorney with extensive experience in providing legal counsel to businesses in the healthcare industry, but it was the emphasis on human value in Horizon Pharma’s portfolio that attracted him to the global company.

Getting Fluent in Business Law

Horizon Pharma’s Brian Beeler seeks expertise in both the law and business. He not only earned his juris doctor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, he also recieved his MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Beeler’s knowledge of the law may be complex, but his advice for young attorneys who are looking to work in pharmaceutical companies is simple.

1. Find role models. Early in Beeler’s career, he says that he had great mentors who spent time with him sharing knowledge about pharmaceutical companies and how they operate.

2. Get a science background. Beeler says it may help, but it isn’t indispensable.

3. Learn about all facets of the business. Understand development and manufacturing. Beeler suggests that diversifying your background will add value to the company.

Before joining the biopharmaceutical giant, Beeler was the associate general counsel for Fenwal Inc., a life sciences manufacturer of products for transfusion medicine. “I wanted to go back to a midsized pharmaceutical company,” Beeler recalls. “When we sold Fenwal, Horizon was an up-and-coming pharmaceutical company with a very promising future and I found that very appealing. But most of all, I liked the idea of making peoples’ lives better.”

The prospect of joining a company focused on providing medicines that address unmet medical needs to improve peoples’ lives was more than enough for Beeler, but he also knew he had an opportunity to help grow Horizon’s legal department and in effect strengthen the company’s mission. “I already knew some of the people who worked here and I respected them,” Beeler says. “In this business, we spend a lot of time with each other so it is important to like those you work with.”

Beeler says he prefers to surround himself with people who work just as hard as he does, but also those “who don’t take themselves too seriously and like to have fun,” as well. “That makes work easier and definitely more productive,” he says.

Beeler started his career representing providers and provider-based organizations such as hospitals and individual physician practices. He later moved to larger pharmaceutical companies, where prior to joining Fenwal, he served as the chief compliance officer at Schwarz Pharma and as senior counsel at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. It was these experiences, he says, that helped him learn about different cultures and how people operate their businesses in other countries.

“The experiences that I have accumulated throughout my career have helped me put together our legal department and work closely with our European colleges,” he says.

Founded in 2005, Horizon Pharma may be headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, but Beeler says the legal team includes members both in Europe and the United States who work collaboratively to counsel Horizon Pharma related to its global operations. “Our entire team is comprised of wonderful, seasoned attorneys, and we really value their work,” he says.

Beeler’s department has increased in size significantly during his three-year tenure. Now as Horizon’s executive vice president and general counsel, Beeler considers this expansion as one of his greatest professional rewards. “When I started with the company in 2013, I was the chief compliance officer and the first and only attorney in the legal department,” he says. “Now there are nineteen professionals in the group, ten in the legal side—among them six attorneys—and nine in the compliance side. We now have experts on intellectual property, compliance, commercial litigation, mergers and acquisitions, and FDA matters, among others.”

His vision for Horizon remains the same, as Beeler continues building the legal arm of the company in a way that supports the steady growth of the business. “We are putting together a great document management system and adding many more legal capabilities,” he explains. “My goal is serving Horizon Pharma and its employees in the best possible manner.”

Horizon Pharma develops and acquires a broad array of medicines that are manufactured and commercialized from its primary care and rheumatology to orphan/specialty business units, which provide treatments and therapies to patients with arthritic and rheumatologic conditions, as well as rare diseases. Beeler describes the culture of the company as fast-paced, caring, and innovative. “As a team, we are dedicated to making our medicines available to people and to delivering exceptional value to the public and our shareholders,” he says.

Two core aspects of the business, Beeler says, are to develop and commercialize medicines that will make people healthier, and to ensure that patients have access to them. “We take great pride on delivering our products to people who need them, ” he says. “We have a dramatic impact on the lives of individuals by improving their quality of life. That’s what our motto, ‘innovative therapies for life,’ is all about.”