Greg Simon was a panelist for The Forum’s discussion on Rare Cancers.
Mr. Simon serves as President of the Biden Cancer Initiative at the Biden Foundation. Previously, he was the Executive Director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force, a position created by President Barack Obama and for which he was chosen by Vice President Joe Biden in March 2016. As Executive Director, Greg assembled and led a team of eight professionals to support the work of the Vice President in developing and promoting the goals of the Cancer Moonshot in numerous meetings and presentations and to coordinate the work of the Task Force comprised of twenty cabinet and sub-cabinet offices.
Over the past ten months Greg and his team worked across the Task Force, academia and the private sector to create over seventy innovative collaborations. On October 17th, 2016, Greg joined the Vice President to present the Cancer Moonshot reports to President Obama in an Oval Office briefing. On December 7, 2016, the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act provided $1.8 billion for the Cancer Moonshot over the next seven years.
In his career, Greg has held senior positions in both chambers of Congress, was Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore, was a senior strategy consultant to a variety of international technology CEO’s, co-founded and led FasterCures and the Melanoma Research Alliance, was the Senior Vice President at Pfizer for worldwide policy and public engagement and was the CEO of Poliwogg, a financial services company creating unique capital market opportunities in healthcare and life sciences. He has developed a reputation as a visionary strategist, a dynamic public speaker and writer, and as a knowledgeable analyst of emerging trends in healthcare, information technology, innovative drug research and development and patient advocacy.
Greg came to Washington, DC in 1985 as General Counsel and then Staff Director of the Investigations Subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Science, Space and Technology Committee. During his years with the Science Committee, Greg organized a series of investigatory hearings on biotechnology policy and was involved in hearings and investigations related to NASA and the Challenger explosion, scientific misconduct, the use of human biological materials in research and the artificial heart program.
Mr. Simon served as Sen. Gore`s Legislative Director from 1991 to 1993 before joining him in the White House as his Chief Domestic Policy Advisor. He was the lead staffer for the Clinton-Gore Administration for development and passage of the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 as well as development of the National and Global Information Infrastructure. He represented the Vice President on the National Economic Council, helped negotiate the US-Russia agreement on the International Space Station and oversaw a number of key initiatives, including programs at the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Human Genome Project. He was also instrumental in crafting the regulatory framework that is now the foundation for the biotechnology industry.
Following his White House service Greg was CEO of Simon Strategies and provided strategic advice to CEO’s of major firms such as Sony, Cisco, Netscape, Motorola, Sega and AOL.
Starting in 2003, Mr. Simon worked with Mike Milken to co-found FasterCures/The Center for Accelerating Medical Solutions. FasterCures has become an organization valued and recognized for catalyzing systematic change in the process of discovery and development and of new therapies for deadly and debilitating diseases.
Under Greg’s leadership, FasterCures created the FasterCures Philanthropy Advisory Service, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This initiative accelerates and increases the flow of philanthropic support to nonprofit medical research organizations by providing in-depth data on the methods, goals, and potential impacts of nonprofit medical research organizations engaged in specific disease areas. He also created The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network (TRAIN) to promote innovation in disease research and to support the activities of organizations engaged in cutting-edge research.
While at FasterCures Greg co-founded the Melanoma Research Alliance with Leon and Debra Black.
From 2009-1012 Simon was Senior Vice President for Worldwide Policy and Patient Engagement at Pfizer, Inc. He led a global team of professionals in: 1) worldwide government policy, 2) science policy, 3) economic policy and research, and 4) international policy. He advised the CEO on the company’s efforts in Healthcare Reform. He also focused on engaging patients more productively in research and clinical trials and on helping Pfizer develop policies, practices, and medical solutions to improve health, happiness and productivity.
Prior to becoming Executive Director of the Cancer Moonshot, Greg was the CEO of Poliwogg, a financial services company creating unique capital market opportunities in healthcare and life sciences. Poliwogg’s first index, the Poliwogg Medical Breakthroughs Index, was the basis for the best performing health Exchange Traded Fund, “SBIO,” in 2015.
The journal Nature Medicine named Greg one of “Ten People to Watch” in health care policy, noting that he was among “a handful of influential people who quietly keep the wheels of biomedical science turning.” In 2010 he received the Genetic Alliance’s “Art of Advocacy” award. In May 2011 Greg was invited to be the second lecturer in the Constantin Spiegelfeld Lecture series of the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He is the recipient of the Arab American Institute’s 2017 Najeem Halaby Public Service Award established by Queen Noor in memory of her father. He is a regular presenter at the Milken Institute Global Conference, the OECD, the Washington Campus (a nonprofit educational institution in Washington, D.C.) and at health conferences and academic institutions around the country.
He received his law degree from the University of Washington in 1983 where he was a member of the Law Review and the Moot Court. He has a B.A. in history from the University of Arkansas.