November 17, 2021
ARLINGTON, Va. — The HDA Research Foundation recognized Sean Spears of Eisai, Inc., with the 2021 Nexus Award for Lifetime Achievement last night at the Thirteenth Annual CEO Roundtable Fundraiser in Washington, D.C. The award is the healthcare distribution industry’s highest honor recognizing career accomplishments.
Now in its 65th year, the Nexus Award, supported by Viatris, honors an individual whose exceptional character; career accomplishments; and leadership in HDA, the industry and the community serve as a model for excellence in the healthcare distribution industry. Recipients are selected and voted upon by the HDA Executive Committee and Board of Directors, the Foundation’s Board of Directors and previous Nexus Award winners.
“Every Nexus Award winner has a drive to serve others — and Sean is the epitome of ‘servant leadership.’ Prioritizing the needs of patients and their families is at the heart of everything he does,” said HDA Research Foundation Chairman (and previous Nexus Award winner), Michael Conley, Vice President of Trade and Corporate/Government Accounts at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “We thank Sean and his family for his dedication to our industry and congratulate him on this much-deserved recognition.”
Throughout a 40-year career, Spears has served in a range of sales and management roles, including a tenure at Bertek Pharmaceuticals. Currently Senior Director of Trade and Pharmacy Relations at Eisai, Spears fosters the company’s business-to-business relationships — with traditional and specialty distributor partners as well as retail pharmacies and chain drug stores.
Under his guidance, Spears’ team has collaborated closely with supply chain partners to launch and manage several products, including Lenvima® and Dayvigo®, among others; for the latter product launch, Spears’ team received an HDA DIANA Award for “Best New Product Introduction/Promotion” in June 2021. He also has worked cross-functionally within Eisai to develop novel compliance programs to support patients and pharmacists. For his efforts at Eisai, Spears has received the prestigious Nightingale Award.
Spears’ “patient-centric” leadership is known and appreciated among distribution industry colleagues. Over the years, Spears’ team has been consistently recognized by HDA distributor members — including Cardinal Health, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and others — for excellence in trade relations. Further, HDA recognized Spears and the Eisai team as a Manufacturer Partner of the Year in 2015.
A longtime and active participant in HDA committees and events, Spears is a former co-chair and current member of the organization’s Industry Relations Council. Most recently, Spears has championed HDA’s educational initiatives, including the HDA Mentoring Program, for which he has served as a mentor on multiple occasions. Further, through Spears’ participation, Eisai is a sustaining annual sponsor of HDA conferences, and most notably, of Convene, the organization’s professional development program.
Outside of his professional accomplishments, Spears is an active volunteer, and with his team, has devoted his time to projects on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, the St. Bernard Project, New Orleans Ronald McDonald House and Project Evergreen, among other organizations. For nearly 10 years he has participated in the PanMass Challenge (PMC), a Massachusetts-based bike-a-thon in support of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 2021 alone, Spears raised nearly $30,000 as part of the PMC, which raises more for charity than any other single athletic event in the country.
“Everything Sean takes on, whether it is building relationships with distributor colleagues, mentoring his peers, or volunteering his time to those in need, he accomplishes with authenticity and enthusiasm,” said Perry Fri, Executive Vice President of Industry Relations, Membership & Education at HDA; and COO of the HDA Research Foundation. “I am proud to have worked closely with him over the years — and to present this prestigious lifetime achievement award to a genuine pillar of the industry.”For more information about the Nexus Award for Lifetime Achievement, visit the HDA Research Foundation website.
The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s nonprofit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.