The Top 10: #8 Carrie Hurwitz Williams, principal, McKesson Ventures

Carrie Hurwitz Williams brings over 15 years of healthcare experience from several vantage points within the healthcare industry. She joined McKesson Ventures, the corporate venturing division of pharmaceuticals distributor McKesson, in September 2017 as a principal.

She said: “I spend most of my time meeting with company founders, investors and industry experts to build and hone my perspective on various parts of the healthcare landscape, with the ultimate goal of identifying the most compelling companies to invest in.”

Williams was attracted to corporate venture capital (CVC) because she has a strategy and operating background, and the way McKesson Ventures’ team is structured gave her a platform to tie her desire to build and collaborate to her interest in helping companies grow from an investment perspective.

She said: “Having the grounding of McKesson to inform major industry challenges helps when working through the ambiguity of the landscape and what future winning models will look like. But the key is having enough latitude to look well outside of and beyond the core operation in order to help identify and then back the likely future leaders in the space. I am fortunate to have joined a team where there is a remarkable balance between the two.”

One area she is particularly keen on is what the team calls ‘digital supply chain’, saying: “It is both enhancing the existing supply chain for medical supplies and drugs through new business models that rely on data – for example, targeted, condition-specific e-commerce – and building the supply chain for digital, software or software-enabled, products – for instance, remote monitoring sensors and devices, and digital therapeutics.

“One investment I have made in this area was in Propeller Health, focused on pairing sensors with inhalers for asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The sensors then sync with a patient-facing app to deliver information about potential disease exacerbations and how to mitigate them, as well as for patient adherence.

“The sensors also connect to a platform for sponsors – providers, pharma, PBMs, pharmacies – to monitor patient data and intervene proactively to manage patients deemed to be at high risk of a preventable event. The company has been successful in building commercial relationships with pharma and was acquired earlier this year [2019] by ResMed.”

Prior to McKesson Ventures, Williams served as vice-president of strategy and business development for behavioural medicine developer Omada Health, having held roles within McKesson’s strategy and business development team previously, working to advance strategies aimed at innovation within hospital pharmacy and clinical trial patient recruitment.

She began her career in drug development, where she managed oncology clinical trials in both large pharmaceutical and biotech settings. Williams holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at University of California at Berkeley and an undergraduate degree in biology from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Originally from Boston, Williams now calls San Francisco home, where she lives with her husband, daughters and their golden retriever, Fenway. “You can take a girl out of Boston, but she will always love the Sox,” she said.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.