The patient is always the focus at San Diego-headquartered Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ: HALO).
With its disruptive drug delivery technologies and robust commercial portfolio, the company is committed to reinventing the patient experience by easing the burden of treatment and improving patient outcomes. Its executive team has helped drive innovation and has been foundational to Halozyme’s success.
Halozyme Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nicole LaBrosse’s financial and business prowess has been critical to the company’s development and growth to become a profitable biopharma company, and is why she has been named CFO of the Year – Large Public Company. The category takes in companies with 250 employees or more.
Halozyme Therapeutics is a biotechnology and biopharmaceutical company that develops novel oncology therapies designed to target the tumor microenvironment and licenses a novel drug delivery technology through corporate partnerships.
The company’s product portfolio is based primarily on intellectual property covering the family of human enzymes known as hyaluronidases and additional enzymes that affect the extracellular matrix. The company was co-founded by Dr. Gregory Frost in 1998 and went public in 2004.
LaBrosse brings more than 18 years of experience in accounting and finance and was appointed to her position at Halozyme in February 2022.
Prior to her appointment as SVP CFO, LaBrosse held roles of growing responsibility within the company since joining in 2015. She served as Halozyme’s Vice President, Finance and Accounting from January 2020-February 2022 and as the company’s Executive Director, Controller from July 2017-December 2019.
She received her certified public accounting license after receiving a B.S. degree in corporate finance and accounting and her M.S. degree in accounting from Bentley College.
Her strong belief in the company’s mission of improving patient experiences and outcomes has been vital to the company’s success.
While LaBrosse isn’t in the lab or clinic, she works behind the curtain and makes it possible for Halozyme to live up to its mission. She views the broader success of the company holistically, not only through financial profit but in terms of community impact.
Under her tenure, LaBrosse has demonstrated leadership with important corporate initiatives, including capital return, accessing capital markets, corporate restructuring and transitioning to a growing, profitable company.
At January’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Halozyme CEO Helen Torley said, “all the terrific financial progress seen over the past year has been under her leadership.”
The year 2022 proved to be another transformative and profitable year for the company in a volatile capital market, according to Jenny Bingham, who nominated LaBrosse. Bingham heads Halozyme’s corporate communications and investor relations efforts.
Bingham said that under LaBrosse’s leadership, Halozyme grew its revenue and broadened its portfolio with the acquisition of Antares Pharma and the addition of its auto-injector platform to the company’s drug delivery technology portfolio. Halozyme has forged new partnerships and strategic collaborations and supported its relationships with pharmaceutical leaders to enhance the lives of patients and create value for all stakeholders.
The company also executed on its three-pillar capital allocation strategy, including continuing to return capital to shareholders with a share buyback program.
LaBrosse has broad experience within the company, working with external advisors, and has the financial and business acumen to support Halozyme’s future growth. As CFO, she is also responsible for information technology and site operations for Halozyme and plays a significant leadership role in the overall company’s business strategy.
Over the past year, she has helped guide the company in more ways than one, including continuing its commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance and creating a robust and comprehensive information technology and cybersecurity plan of action for 2023 and beyond.
Under LaBrosse’s leadership:
For the full-year 2022, the company expects total revenue of $655 million to $685 million, representing growth of 48% to 55% over 2021, compared to a full year revenue of $443.3 million in 2021;
In 2023, Halozyme projects record revenue of $815 million to $845 million and greater than 30% growth in EBITDA to $415 million to $440 million;
Halozyme acquired Antares Pharma, adding Antares’ commercial products and existing auto injector capabilities which will help accelerate Halozyme’s strategy to drive long-term, durable revenue growth and value creation;
Halozyme expects a total of $200 million planned share repurchases in 2022;
Halozyme completed the sale of $720 million in aggregate principal amount of 1% Convertible Senior Notes due 2028;
And Halozyme had a 12-month share price increase of 42% and a 12-month market cap increase of $2.03 billion.
LaBrosse’s leadership goes beyond financial success, Bingham said. She is also active in the community, supporting groups such as the San Diego Food Bank, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
As a member of local nonprofit organization of 92130 Cares, LaBrosse regularly serves her community together with her family. As part of the group, she frequently “rescues” unsold food from local grocery stores, which is then delivered to those in need at free farmers’ markets in low-income housing communities.
She has also served as treasurer and auditor on the Carmel Del Mar Elementary School PTA board and the Sycamore Ridge Elementary School PTA.
After receiving her award, LaBrosse took some time to answer a few questions from the San Diego Business Journal.
Q: At what stage in your life did you set your sights on the CFO’s office? What put you on the path to getting there?
A: I began my career with PwC as a CPA in the pharma/life science audit practice, an environment that provides a level of exposure that really accelerates your career and ultimately paved the way for me to join the Halozyme team as Senior Director, Financial Reporting in 2015.
As I have grown in my career, I have been surrounded by amazing role models who helped me recognize my potential. My minor in college was women’s studies which provided an early awareness of gender differences and a strong sense of the barriers women face to succeed in business. I think this background – when combined with strong female leaders at Halozyme – accelerated my trajectory to CFO. Both taught me that imposter syndrome is a very real thing, and to look beyond it and embrace fear and insecurity and charge in – we’re often capable of more than we give ourselves credit for.
Q: Think back over your career. Up to this point, what is the accomplishment you are most proud of?
A: 2022 was a transformative year for Halozyme. I am proud of my role in the acquisition of Antares Pharma in May 2022, which extended Halozyme’s leadership in drug delivery technology. We also strengthened our balance sheet with the sale of convertible notes for $720 million. Neither would have been possible without the support of my incredible finance leadership team. As I’ve grown in my career, my team has advanced as well, and I’m so proud of the work we have done together. Our finance leadership team’s expertise, dedication and focus on protecting and managing our business inspires me on a daily basis.
Q: Of all the economics and business issues in the news right now, what are you following with most interest and why? Which one most directly affects your organization?
A: Our primary focus is on growing, protecting and managing Halozyme’s assets. Recent events, including the news around banks has only heightened our focus here. We also continue to track the Inflation Reduction Act and its potential impact to the pharmaceutical industry.
Q: What is the next big step your company hopes to take? If appropriate, tell me what challenges you face in getting there.
A: We continue to focus on the growth opportunities of the business as well as our capital allocation strategy. We are uniquely positioned as a profitable biopharma company. We are cash flow positive and committed to investing in the company to support and establish new partnerships with our drug delivery technologies. We will continue to invest in growth via mergers and acquisitions, with an emphasis on extending our revenue durability. We are also committed to returning capital to our shareholders with a $750 million share buyback program established in December 2021.