Spring 2009 Issue
Pamela Simonton ’71
Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Exelixis
School of Natural and Health Sciences
Pamela Simonton’s educational career at Barry University nearly ended before it began.
After losing a scholarship through no fault of her own, Simonton made the decision to withdraw from school. Coming from a low-income family, she was worried about taking out loans she couldn’t afford to repay.
And then she got a call from former Academic Dean Sister Mary Arnold Benedetto, OP.
“She looked me up because she saw I didn’t register for school and immediately [made sure] I got my scholarship. If it wasn’t for Sister Arnold, I wouldn’t have stayed at Barry and I don’t know if I ever would have had any college education at all or succeeded as well as I have.
But Simonton did graduate from Barry with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and went on to earn a master’s degree in physics from the University of Miami, a Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University and a Master of Laws in patent and trade regulation from George Washington University.
Simonton has more than 25 years experience in the life sciences industry working for major pharmaceutical companies. She is the executive vice president and general counsel of Exelixis, Inc. where she serves as chief legal officer in charge of Exelixis’ legal strategies.
Simonton joined Exelixis as vice president of corporate technology development in April 2000 and was promoted to senior vice president of patents and licensing in January 2004. She advanced to her current position in January 2008.
Prior to joining Exelixis, Simonton held management roles at Bayer Corp. from July 1988 to April 2000, including vice president of licensing and acquisitions for Bayer’s pharmaceutical division. Simonton has been a guest lecturer on intellectual property issues at the University of California, Berkeley, and a featured speaker on pharma-biotech collaborations at the American Conference Institute and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.