Since beginning his career in medicine in 1977, Dr. Harvey Berger has made numerous contributions to the fields of oncology, cardiology and immunology. His work in biotechnology has led to the discovery and development of numerous medicines for cancer patients with advanced and difficult-to-treat tumors, including lung cancer and leukemias. Today, Dr. Berger resides in Palm Beach, Florida with his wife, Chrysanthi Berger, and their two children, Nicole Berger and Isabella Berger. Dr. Berger continues to impact the medical field with his work as Governing Trustee for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He also is the chairman and CEO Emeritus of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the company he founded in 1991.
Dr. Harvey Berger began his involvement in medicine in 1977 graduating with his MD from Yale University School of Medicine. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Berger began his medical training as an Assistant Resident in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, followed by a residency in Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. He also completed training in echocardiography and cardiac imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital.
After graduating from medical school and completing his residency training, Dr. Berger began his academic career as a member of the Yale faculty in Internal Medicine and Radiology and as Director of Cardiovascular Imaging. He led a research program on the study of coronary physiology and nuclear cardiology at Yale and then the development of new noninvasive methods of three-dimensional imaging of the heart at Emory School of Medicine.
Dr. Berger later moved into the position of Head of Research and Development at Centocor, Inc. (now Janssen J&J) in 1986, where he pioneered the development of various biologic medicines that are widely used today throughout the world. He also led the clinical development and initial approval of the in vitro cancer diagnostic-test known as CA125 to monitor patients with ovarian cancer using a simple blood test.
Dr. Berger then founded ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1991 where he served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until 2015. Dr. Berger, who started as the company’s initial employee, built the company from a startup to a worldwide, commercial company. Under Dr. Berger’s leadership, ARIAD developed a portfolio of new medicines to advance the treatment of patients with difficult-to-treat cancers. The company utilized its platform of computational and structural approaches to design small-molecule drugs that overcame resistance to previously effective medicines.
From 2017 to 2018, Dr. Berger was Executive Chairman for Medinol, where he focused on business development, global strategy and technology initiatives of the global cardiovascular medical device company based in Israel. Dr. Berger has long-standing ties to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and currently serves as Governing Trustee on its Board of Trustees.
Clinical Interests and Research
Over the course of his career in the biotechnology and life-sciences industries, Dr. Berger oversaw the development of seven new medicines and an in vitro cancer diagnostic test – six of which have already been approved for use in patients with many difficult-to-treat diseases in cancer, immunology and cardiology.
- Nuclear Medicine
Dr. Berger spearheaded the development of Iclusig® (ponatinib) for Ph+ leukemias, Alunbrig® (brigatinib) for ALK+ non-small cell lung cancer, AP32788 (now TAK788) for lung cancer with novel mutated genetic targets, and rimiducid, a dimerizing drug for use with cellular immunotherapies, such as CAR-T therapies (co-developed with Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Houston, Texas). He also partnered with Medinol to use one of ARIAD’s cancer medicines, ridaforolimus, in a novel polymer coating on Medinol’s EluNIR® drug-eluting stent for obstructive coronary disease. Ponatinib, brigatinib and ridaforolimus are now approved and widely available to patients, and AP32788 and rimiducid are in late-stage clinical trials. In 2016, ARIAD was acquired by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and ARIAD is now a part of Takeda Oncology.
In 1986, Berger left his full-time academic positions and moved to the biotechnology industry – initially Centocor, Inc. (now Janssen J&J), as the head of R&D, where he led the development of Remicade® (infliximab), a drug for patients with autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, and ReoPro® (abciximab), a drug for patients with ischemic complications of percutaneous interventions in coronary artery disease. Both drugs are widely used throughout the world. He also led the development and initial approval of CA125, an in vitro cancer diagnostic-test.
In recognition of his achievements in the biotechnology field, Berger was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in New England and the Gold Stevie Award as Executive of the Year in Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Berger has received several special recognitions throughout his career for all of his contributions in the medical and biotechnology fields.
- 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Biotechnology in NE Region
- 2013 Gold Stevie Award for Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology Company CEO
- 2008 Who’s Who in the World, 25th Silver Anniversary Edition
- 2006-2007 Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Sixth Edition
- 2005 Symbol of Caring Award, Sarcoma Foundation of America (on behalf of ARIAD)
- 1977 Louis H. Nahum Prize, Yale University School of Medicine
Membership in Professional and Scientific Societies
In addition to his extensive clinical research, Dr. Berger has been a member of a variety of medical societies and has served on numerous boards. He has been a fellow of the American Colleges of Cardiology, Chest Physicians, Nuclear Physicians, and Physicians. He was also a fellow for the Council on Circulation and Council on Cardiovascular Radiology of the American Heart Association. At different times in his career, he has been a member of the following:
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Board of Trustees
- Established Investigator, American Heart Association
- American College of Radiology
- American Federation for Clinical Research
- American Physiological Society
- Association of University Radiologists
- North American Society for Cardiac Radiology
- Radiological Society of North America
- Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
- Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging
- Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
- Society of Nuclear Medicine
- Society of Thoracic Radiology