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At his core, Ahmad Aboelezz wants to help people. The lifelong New Jersey resident credits his upbringing with instilling in him the values he continues to hold to this day.
“Growing up as the son of two immigrant parents of Egyptian and Palestinian descent, both who had professional careers, I really learned the value of hard work, community and supporting each other,” says Aboelezz. “That’s always been a big part of who I am, and it’s definitely a big part of how I operate professionally. Family, community, and relationships are all very important to me.”
Aboelezz sees a reflection of his own values in Cipla USA, based in Warren, New Jersey, and the subsidiary of Cipla Ltd., an India-headquartered pharmaceutical company where he has served as vice president, US general counsel since August 2022. “Cipla’s mission statement is ‘Caring for Life,’ and that extends to caring for patients, our colleagues that make it happen, and to our broader communities,” he says. “Our commitment is to making a difference and doing what’s right.”
Aboelezz’s role at Cipla is the latest in a career dedicated to increasing the affordability and accessibility of vital medicines. Although the pharmaceutical industry wasn’t necessarily on his radar when he was a student at Rutgers Law School, Aboelezz focused on life sciences early in his career in private practice. One client, in particular, another global pharmaceutical company based in India with operations in New Jersey, valued his counsel enough to hand-pick him to start their in-house legal team in the US.
“I had always envisioned going in-house at some point, based on my goals for my professional career and especially for what I wanted my family life to look like,” Aboelezz explains. “I never thought it would happen that early in my career, but I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back, which increased my scope to handling all types of matters, including corporate transactions, HR matters, and litigations of all types.”
Being in-house made Aboelezz realize something else: His role allows him to think beyond specific matters or transactions. “When I was in private practice, it was close a deal and not hear about [it] again unless something went wrong. Now, I get to see the fruits of that labor when we launch a product and I get to think about ‘How can I help the business grow?’ not just as a lawyer, but as a true businessperson and partner in that growth.”
Although Cipla Ltd. has been around for almost ninety years, the US business is still in its early phase—but it is growing rapidly. “I jumped at the chance to join Cipla precisely because of its reputation and where it was headed,” says Aboelezz. “That growth journey really excited me.
Over his first eighteen months, Aboelezz has handled significant and complex litigations across different subject matters, closing on deals to expand Cipla’s growing portfolio. He has also worked as part of the senior leadership team and cross-functional colleagues throughout the organization to effectuate Cipla’s strategic vision. “Cipla is very much committed to not just becoming a major player in the generics space, but a leader in certain therapeutic areas,” he says. “We take great pride in respiratory and oncology in particular, and Cipla, globally, is extremely proud of its lung leadership role.”
That goal resonates deeply with Aboelezz, who recognizes the critical need for respiratory-related therapies in the US patient population. Cipla’s work also aligns with his passion for accessible and affordable healthcare solutions. “Cost should never be the reason someone can’t receive the treatment they need,” he emphasizes. “Doing my part in helping to bring accessible and affordable therapies and products to market that are accessible and affordable to patients—that part is the most rewarding part of what I do.”
Aboelezz keeps “Caring for Life” always at the forefront, whether while handling transactional matters or working with his team. He strives to do right by his team members by balancing empathy, development, and trust both up and down the ladder and preparing each of them to take on leadership roles of their own. Aboelezz explains, “I’ve always been about collaboration and finding solutions. That means being humble enough to listen and understand other viewpoints, and then trying to bridge gaps and find solutions.”
Through it all, he stays true to his roots: his community. “I care deeply about the personal and professional well-being of my team and colleagues because I have always believed, we rise or fall together—their successes mean more than my own.”
“I’m appreciative to work at Cipla because it hasn’t felt like ‘just another job,’” Aboelezz says. “‘Caring for Life’ isn’t a tagline, it’s in our DNA—through whatever roles we have in our life—we all can effectuate positive change for our communities, both near and far.”
ArentFox Schiff is a destination firm for organizations that provide health care services, develop products and therapies, and embrace innovation in the marketplace. Our attorneys act both as outside general and specialty counsel to leading organizations, delivering “workbench to bedside” counseling for a national roster of clients. ArentFox Schiff is proud to work with leaders like Ahmad Aboelezz and Cipla together towards the timeless purpose of caring for life.