Like many kids growing up in Australia, Gregory S. Moss spent most of his time watching television and playing sports. The fact that one of his favorite shows was The Practice foreshadowed his future legal career, which eventually brought him to the US, where he is now a senior vice president and deputy general counsel at Kadmon Holdings, Inc. The fully integrated biopharmaceutical company engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecules and biologics to address disease and therapeutic areas of significant unmet medical need.
After law school in Australia, Moss decided to follow his future wife—whom he met in school—to New York City. When a position fell through at a large law firm there just before he was to depart for the US, he decided to make the trip anyway. As luck would have it, a referral from a family friend led to a brief meeting with Steven N. Gordon, Esq., and his first job as an associate at Gordon’s law office. It also positioned Moss to do work for start-up Silhouette Capital, a hedge fund Gordon was developing that used highly detailed information from legal proceedings to help direct its investments.
“I had no idea what I was getting into in that first job. I ended up traveling around the country doing everything from annotating and studying trial process and jury questionnaires, to eventually analyzing court jurisdictions and types of evidence,” Moss says. “I just said ‘yes’ to everything thrown at me and figured it out as I went along.”
After a short stint back in Australia, where Moss worked at Gadens Lawyers (which has since been acquired by Dentons Australia), Gordon asked him return to New York to work in his new company, Kadmon Holdings. Moss jumped at the opportunity.
Moss brought a highly proactive and aggressive approach with him to Kadmon that he had honed while working at Gadens. Whereas his previous New York responsibilities had required “jumping into action” to effectively handle various issues and circumstances, the model at Gadens, like most large law firms, had been much more conservative and controlled. Moss excelled, however, by acting decisively and quickly built a strong reputation in the world of Australian corporate risk.
“I found that just billing hours and doing what was expected wasn’t personally satisfying and didn’t do anything to differentiate me,” he says. “Instead, I never hesitated to tackle new challenges and come up with specific solutions to address them.”
Using that same approach at Kadmon resulted in several early, high-profile successes. First, Moss identified inefficiencies and potential regulatory risks within the company’s promotional review process. He then took responsibility for developing a new process just prior to receiving FDA notice of regulatory action against the company. Because remedial action was already underway, however, the issue was quickly resolved.
Moss also helped handle a major licensing deal for a Kadmon product with AbbVie Pharmaceuticals as well as major debt and equity financing transactions. In addition to providing some of his first experiences working on complex scenarios with pharmaceutical companies, lenders, and banks, he recognized how emotionally invested he was in the outcomes for the company.
“Australians are typically conservative and formal in business dealings, so I was surprised at how emotionally involved I got in the transactions I handled,” Moss says. “It felt like I was being kicked in the stomach when things didn’t go as planned, and then tremendous pride and excitement when everything wrapped up successfully.”
The positive outcomes of those and other issues led to Moss gaining more seniority and responsibility than he expected within his first three years at the company. Since then, he has helped Kadmon through a successful IPO in 2016 and he handled major portions of complex international issues related to the spin-off of MeiraGTX, a UK-based gene therapy research business. Following the completion of that transaction, Moss served on the board of a MeiraGTx-collaborator and acted as counsel to the new company in its early years.
“I love working in this industry, first, because we’re addressing a noble cause that improves patients’ lives when we succeed,” Moss says. “But it’s also invigorating to get to work on something different and challenging every day and to work with people that inspire me. I’m very lucky to have friends and mentors in my workplace.”
One new initiative requiring his attention is the company’s development of KD025, a potential treatment for chronic graft-versus-host disease. If approved, it will be the first novel drug that Kadmon has developed and delivered to market through its own pipeline.
When asked if there were any other specific strategies that were key to his success at the company, Moss reveals that from the very start, he approached his time in New York as if he were putting down roots to stay. He’s also continued to say “yes” to new work—everything from corporate governance and labor and employment matters to SEC reporting and a wide range of other business, legal, and compliance issues.
“As soon as I arrived in the US, I took a long-term perspective so that I would have the tools in place to take advantage of the amazing opportunities here,” he says. “I opened bank accounts, got new phone service—even started citizenship paperwork—so that I could hit the ground running. Nothing is forever, but I planned as if it was.”
A Winning Education
Gregory S. Moss’s first passion was sports. He played cricket, rugby, swam, ran cross-country, and played right mid-fielder at professional and semiprofessional soccer clubs while on a soccer scholarship in college. He credits those athletic experiences with teaching him about dedication, commitment, time management, teamwork, and leadership.
“By nature, I’m not one to sit back and let others do the work,” Moss says. “Participating in sports from a young age taught me how to use my passion and energy productively.”
He believes that sports also helped develop his leadership and communication abilities, a strong work ethic, and understanding the dynamics of group effort.
Photo by Richard Hanewald