Healthcare and Life Sciences 50

Owen O’Connor/Columbia University

Owen A. O’Connor, M.D., Ph.D., is an American Cancer Society Research Professor, Professor of Medicine and Experimental Therapeutics, Founding Director  for the Center for Lymphoid Malignancies, and Co-Program Director of the Lymphoid Development and Malignancy Program at Columbia University. The American Cancer Society Professorship is the highest distinction granted by the Society.

O’Connor is an international leader on the study of Hodgkin Lymphoma and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and drug development. He has overseen the development and regulatory approval of four new drugs for the treatment of such diseases. He both co-invented and developed pralatrexate, the first drug approved by the U.S. F.D.A. for the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma, which has now been approved in over 30 countries worldwide, where it is often the only drug approved for this disease. He holds over 20 patents on methods to treat cancer, has been inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Society Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of the Trustees Award, the highest award given by the society. He currently leads several international studies, many the largest of their kind to ever be conducted, on various lymphoma subtypes. His primary goal is to develop safer drugs that exclusively target the unique biology of the cancer cell, minimizing the collateral damage of existing chemotherapy treatments. He is a member of the prestigious U.S. Food and Drug Administrations Oncology Drug Advisory Committee (ODAC). O’Connor is globally known for his ability to translate novel scientific concepts into practical state-of-the- art treatments for patients. He was recently honored by the Irish government as one of the top 50 Irish Americans in science and medicine in the U.S., and is recognized as one of the top physicians and oncologists in the U.S.

Born in Huntington, Long Island, O’Connor lives in New York with his wife, Rosella, and children, Marc and  Laura. He is a second-generation Irishman with ties to Bantry, Co. Cork and Castlebar, Co. Mayo. “Pride in my Irish Catholic upbringing came from a family proud of their heritage,” he says, calling it “very instrumental to every success I have achieved in my personal and professional life.”  ♦