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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Ryan Lake

Chief Financial Officer

Societal CDMO Inc.

Location: Exton, PA

Founded: 2013

Industry: Life Sciences

In 2022, Ryan Lake led the execution of a comprehensive strategy aimed at recasting Societal CDMO’s capital structure and reducing its debt burden. Through a series of strategic capital financing transactions, Lake reduced the company’s debt by approximately 70%, lowered interest expenses by around 50% and significantly improved its net debt leverage ratio. The transactions included a sale/lease-back of primary facilities and land, a public equity market capital raise on NASDAQ and debt refinancing. These transactions not only strengthened the company’s financial position but they also positioned Societal CDMO for continued growth and success.

Lake serves as the chief financial officer of Societal CDMO, a bicoastal contract development and manufacturing organization operating in the life sciences industry. Societal CDMO provides a range of services, including pre-Investigational New Drug development, commercial manufacturing and packaging, regulatory support and logistics services. The company has facilities in Gainesville, Georgia, and San Diego, California.

In addition to his financial knowledge, Lake has been instrumental in driving Societal CDMO’s strategic objectives. He has contributed to the optimization of facilities and expansion of capabilities, enhanced the client experience through reliability and consistent quality and fostered an inspiring and supportive environment for associates, the company said.

Lake acknowledges the challenges presented by the current market environment, particularly in the biopharma industry. Many companies are facing funding challenges and cash constraints, which can impact decision-making regarding inventory, production and development timing. Lake and his team have adjusted their sales approach in 2023 to adapt to these changes. By diversifying the customer base and increasing top-line revenue, Societal CDMO is well prepared to navigate the evolving market landscape, the company said.

“As I established myself professionally and advanced through my early career, I was very focused on the finance side of business. This provided great experience and helped me create a comfort zone in finance,” Lake said. “It would have been easy to remain exclusively focused on the financial side of business, but I was offered the opportunity to take a position that involved leading a cross-functional team with responsibilities that spanned new business development, key account management, sales and marketing, research and development and commercialization. Moving into this role represented a significant risk that quickly removed me from my comfort zone and challenged me to evolve significantly as a professional and leader.

“While this move was initially intimidating, it provided the opportunity to assume significant strategic responsibility, be exposed to customer- facing roles and hone my overall leadership approach/style. Ultimately, this risk paid off as it contributed dramatically to my evolution as a business professional and leader, paving the way for my appointment as a chief financial officer.”

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