Celebrating the work of a patient advocate

Throughout his career Markku Toivonen has been a staunch patient advocate, focusing his life’s work on ensuring that suitable medicines accelerate and that only those products reach physicians and patients.

As a regulator he spent eight years providing scientific feedback and guidance to companies, as well as assess and recommend products for approvals as well as rejections through his work as Chair of the Scientific Advice Working Party and Finnish member of the CHMP. Following his stellar track record working for the regulatory agencies, he joined NDA and became our first Scientific Director, a role he proudly held for 15 years, up until his retirement end of 2019.

The legacy that Markku leaves behind, as he now travels the world together with his husband, is impressive. As a regulator he was involved in assessing hundreds of new products and advising a large number of companies. During his 15 years at NDA the track record is no less impressive; at final count Markku left his finger prints on more than 600 different projects. Most of these were in particularly challenging therapeutic areas, such as neurological conditions, psychiatry and oncology, but as an almost complete therapeutic area agnostic, there is almost no area that has gone untouched by his pen and intellect.

At the end of his tenure at NDA we took the opportunity to sit down with Markku to talk with him about his experiences coming from the European regulator and entering the consulting environment. In the below video are some of his parting thoughts for his regulator colleagues, who may be anxious to take the step and embark on the next part of their journey.

The whole NDA team wishes Markku and his husband Manu bon voyage – and we look forward to the post cards that we know we can expect from their travels. Thanks for all the fun and the wisdom you’ve imparted on all of us Markku. It’s been an honor and a great pleasure.