By: George Cokenakes
Ewing, NJ – February 17th, 2016…The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) hosted its second annual PharmaTech Symposium to highlight the scientific and business aspects of the pharmaceutical industry to undergraduate students at the college. Over one hundred interested students attended the event which was kicked off with a passionate keynote address by Dr. Spiro Spireas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sigmapharm Laboratories, LLC. Dr. Spireas’ love of both the pharmaceutical industry and academia emanated from his address as he encouraged students to study hard and develop a solid foundation so that one day they could be creators in whatever field they choose. He also spoke about his own experience coming from a small town in Kalamata, Greece and using his passion for pharmaceutics and creative mind to ultimately start his own company, Sigmapharm Laboratories, which has grown tremendously since its inception in 2005 to now represent a significant share of the generic drug market in the United States. He closed his address with a description of the endless possibilities within the pharmaceutical industry and more words of encouragement for the students. The speech was humorous, informative and inspiring while maintaining a down to earth authenticity.
After the keynote address, students chose from two different panels to attend. One panel focused on the business aspect of pharmacy and biotechnology while the other panel focused on the scientific aspect. A variety of leaders within the industry who were also graduates of TCNJ (formerly Trenton State College) sat on aforementioned panels including Dr. Emily Hampp, Senior Project Engineer at Stryker Orthopedics; Aron Moazamian, Director of Science Strategy & Operations at CellOxess; Dr. Gillian Zeldin, Brand Safety Leader at Novartis; George Cokenakes, Project Manager at Sigmapharm Laboratories; John Bostjanic, Chief Financial Officer at SeaSpine Holdings Corporation; Carla Calizaire, Senior Director of NA Commercial Operations at Johnson & Johnson; Robert Ott, MBA, Executive Director of Business Operations at ACT Oncology and Al Ribeiro, Global Corporate Affairs Lead at Pfizer Oncology. Finally, a networking reception followed the panels which included other notable alumnae including Constantine Larigakis, Director of Corporate Affairs at Sigmapharm Laboratories; Rose Hanley, Director of Strategy Realization at Merck and Jack Stephenson, President at HealthPlus Amerigroup (Wellpoint). Overall, the second annual Pharmatech Symposium at TCNJ successfully created a bridge between aspiring students and leaders in the pharmaceutical industry in an effort to build excitement for an ever-growing industry.