Genetech’s Dr. Sara Kenkare-Mitra talks about drug discovery, cancer and women in leadership role in this TV interview that was aired in San Francisco Bay area. Silicon Valley-based Genentech was founded by a research scientist and a venture capitalist in 1976.

Dr. Kenkare-Mitra is Senior VP, Developmental Sciences and so one of our first questions was about her role at Genentech. Think of it like a translational organization is how she describes her role and the work her group does. What that means is they sit in the middle working with colleagues that do original discovery and clinicians that develop clinical trials. Essentially, she is involved right from the drug discovery to the drug approval phase by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Genntech is a research driven drug company with an emphasis on oncology and immunology . Dr. Kenkare-Mitra has worked extensively with  various Genentch products like Avastin, Tarceva, Lucentis, Xolair, Erivedge, Perjeta and Kadcyla. As an example she explains her  involvement with Kadcyla, a drug for breast cancer. It took them over 10 years to bring the drug to market and her involvment with this particular drug  began with the discovery of the molecule to the approval of the drug by FDA.

Dr. Kenkare-Mitra joined Genentech 18 years ago as a research scientist after doing graduate and post-graduate work at Univerity of Austin, Texas and University of San Francisco , California. How did she go from being a research scientist to a leadership role?  What skills are crucial for leading a team? Are women hesitant to ask?  Tune in to find out what she has to say.