Fleming tapped as new Delaware Bio president
Delaware Bio represents 130 pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, medical device manufacturers, agricultural biotech and chemical companies, research and testing companies, hospitals and medical institutions, and other organizations and related service companies that employ 8,000 in the state. Fleming’s appointment was effective Monday, and he’s left his previous role of head of global medical and regulatory communications at the multinational pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Christopher Yochim, chairman of Delaware Bio’s board of directors, called Fleming “a proven strategic leader with deep roots in Delaware” and noted that continuity in Delaware Bio’s leadership was vital in the current pandemic environment.
“Michael’s experience with life science companies and his expertise in marketing, branding, communications, and public policy will be of great value as we strive to find new and effective ways to support our members,” Yochim said in a statement announcing the selection.
Fleming takes over for Stimson, who departed Delaware Bio on June 1 to take the role of chief operating officer at Adesis, a contract research organization based in New Castle. She had led Delaware Bio since 2017, when she took over for the association’s founder, Bob Dayton.
In a statement, Stimson thanked the association’s members, ensuring them that she is “confident that Michael is the right person to lead the organization and that he will continue to strengthen its resources, relevance and influence.”
Fleming spent 18 years at GSK, where he led corporate brand management, community investment, digital media, and product communications, and was president of the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. He and his wife, Christy, also founded TownSquareDelaware, an online media outlet that covers the state of Delaware.
Fleming said that he was drawn to the Delaware Bio position due to his uniquely applicable set of skills – aside from his pharmaceutical industry background and communications work, Fleming also served as a legislative assistant and state office director to the late U.S. Sen. William V. Roth Jr.
“It’s a really unique opportunity to be able to work on behalf of the industry to support what is, I think, the future of the state,” he said.
Although Fleming is a lifelong Delawarean, his work at GSK had him based in Philadelphia and focused on a global market. So, he said his first task is to become better acquainted with all of Delaware Bio’s members, from the largest, multinational companies to the smallest startup firms.
“It’s such a broad range of companies that are involved in lots of different areas of scientific innovation, beyond just biopharmaceuticals, although that’s certainly a big piece of it,” he said.
Fleming said that he is lucky to inherit a well-run organization and emphasized that he wanted to continue to provide high-value programs for members, while also helping to tell the stories of Delaware Bio members to the public.
“Every day they’re researching and developing really world-class technologies and breakthroughs,” he said, noting Delaware companies, universities and research firms are developing a COVID-19 vaccine, treatments, and tests.
With a deep heritage of scientific innovation like DuPont and AstraZeneca and the home of billion-dollar startups like W.L. Gore and Incyte, Fleming said that he wanted to help ensure that future generations of innovators continue to make Delaware their home by fostering a supportive climate.
“These companies are going to be so pivotal to the future of the state – not just our health, but also our economic future,” he said.
By Jacob Owens