As Fogarty Innovation welcomes new entrepreneurs with groundbreaking ideas, it continually aims to strengthen its team of dedicated mentors, and recently hired industry veteran Peggy McLaughlin as a strategic clinical and regulatory advisor.
Peggy has more than 30 years of experience in the medtech field with a focus and passion for early-stage companies.
A varied pathways led to broad experiences
By third grade Peggy already knew she wanted to focus on science and went to UCLA as a biology major with the intention of attending medical school after graduation. But anxious to ‘get to work’ and cognizant of the many years still to remain ‘in school,’ she decided to jump into industry.
Her first job out of college was in sales with a startup in the medtech space doing chemo sensitivity testing for cancer patients. “It was a great first job that had me traveling up and down the west coast, and I really enjoyed being out in the field and working with clinicians trying to solve their needs and those of their patients,” said Peggy.
The company founder, John Daniels, MD, invited her to join him in a new company he had formed, Target Therapeutics, that was a joint venture between Advanced Cardiovascular Systems and Eli Lilly. Looking to build on her experience, she jumped at the opportunity, where she handled projects ranging from pre-clinical trials to the lab and eventually hired the company’s first salespeople and selected and managed its international distributors.
Peggy worked with Target Therapeutics for over 10 years as both an employee and later as consultant and helped guide the evolution of the business from a focus on oncology to a leader in the nascent interventional neuroradiology field. “It was an exciting time to be working with all the pioneers of this field and see the successful technologies and professionals that the company launched,” Peggy said. Target Therapeutics was later acquired by Boston Scientific and then sold to Stryker.
After the birth of her second child, Peggy began a consulting career, which allowed her flexibility while her children were young. When she felt like her third child was settled in elementary school, she took a full time role with Abbott Vascular Devices, where she led its drug-eluting stent project. “I wanted to experience what it was like to work with a larger company and see what I could learn, but it wasn’t long before I realized I missed the interactive dynamic and cross-functional teams that you find in a startup,” said Peggy.
One of her former colleagues asked her to join a nascent startup housed within The Foundry, which was the perfect match for her skillsets and interests. She later joined the Kleiner Perkins- backed startup, Autonomic Technologies, which was developing a neuromodulation technology for the treatment of migraines. While neither of these companies reached commercial success, the experiences and lessons learned added to Peggy’s acumen.
Looking back, Peggy feels that starting her career in sales gave her a strong foundation for working with startups because of the opportunity to learn about the needs of both the customers (the physicians) and the patients. “Going from the sales to clinical side provided invaluable insight into the full lifecycle of medtech businesses,” she said. She has managed clinical studies and authored regulatory submissions leading to CE mark, 510(k) and de novo petition clearances for products across a broad spectrum of clinical areas including software as a medical device (SaMD) products.
Joining Fogarty Innovation
With particularly deep experience in first-in-human clinical studies and de novo petition submissions for novel medical products, Peggy’s skills are uniquely suited to support both clinical and regulatory needs at Fogarty.
“I’m very excited to be back working with a phenomenal group of leaders, sharing the ups and downs of getting these innovative early-stage companies to market,” said Peggy. “The Fogarty Innovation team is very experienced and progressive, and I look forward to working with the entrepreneurs to move their companies forward by sharing our deep knowledge in the field.”
An outdoor enthusiast and mentor
In her spare time, Peggy likes to garden, hike or run, do yoga and spend time with her family and new puppy. She also enjoys indulging her passion for books and reading while helping the local community by serving on the board of her local library foundation. Peggy also enjoys mentoring and teaching at the Stanford Biodesign program, which she has done for the past 11 years. Peggy is also an avid traveler, which she found to be a fantastic byproduct of working on clinical trials.