Kartikeya Desai, Finance Expert in Bern, Switzerland
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Kartikeya Desai

Verified Expert  in Finance

Management Consulting Expert

Bern, Switzerland
Toptal Member Since
May 26, 2022

Kartikeya is an experienced healthcare and pharma executive with over 10 years of experience. He has led diverse teams across five countries in roles spanning from driving complex post-merger integrations to building biotech pipelines from scratch. Drove value creation programs like M&A, operating model design, go-to-market strategy, and OpEx leading to a $3 billion cumulative value generated. He is excited to freelance to help organizations build transformative products for society

Case Studies

Work Experience

Head of Portfolio Strategy and Operations | Precision Medicine

2021 - PRESENT
  • Established an organizational blueprint from scratch and set up eight workstreams to deliver a strategic roadmap of the new organization with 130 FTEs and a $120 million budget.
  • Led portfolio management of the diagnostics and biomarker portfolio, driving value creation initiatives across 50 molecules with a cumulative expected NPV of $70 billion.
  • Delivered a 5-year roadmap to the CEO of a San Diego-based diagnostic subsidiary with 180 FTEs and an $80 million budget. Identified technologies, capabilities, and investments to drive future growth strategy.
  • Drove over 10 business development projects of $300 million deal value by managing deal sourcing, due diligence, and term sheet finalization.
Focus areas: Biotechnology, Portfolio Management, Diagnostics, Valuation, Transactions, Partnership Management, Term Sheets, Strategy, Change Management, Financial Modeling

Associate Director of Portfolio Strategy and Management

2020 - 2021
  • Led initiatives to increase recruitment of underrepresented minorities in clinical trials. Obtained a $20 million commitment to scholarships for black students in healthcare fields and a $14 million investment for a research center at Morehouse University.
  • Established a post-acquisition integration roadmap for gene therapy player acquired for $8.7 billion. Identified synergies that were cumulating to $120 million in savings.
  • Led the Pipeline of the future program. An enterprise initiative to build the R&D pipeline of the future.
  • Established a strategy and an operating model for an R&D center of excellence for digital health products, managing 30 FTEs and a $40 million budget.
Focus areas: Operational Excellence, Program Management, Digital Health, Change Management, Biotechnology, Medical Devices, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), Post-Merger Integration, Post-merger Integration, Portfolio Management

Strategy Lead | Operations

2019 - 2020
  • Delivered savings of $1.1 million through an initiative driving the automation and off-shoring of non-core activities across seven manufacturing sites in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, and Switzerland.
  • Led the rollout of an analytics tool mapping inventory data, $3 billion+value across 60 production sites and 120 countries.
  • Created the blueprint and organized a worldwide hackathon to co-create the 3-year quality transformation plan.
  • Established the Quality Venture Fund, an in-house incubator that injects $1 million per year into high potential ideas across the network.
  • Nominated by Novartis Quality community for the Quality 2018 Award to win two out of the seven awards given at the year-end Townhall to associates for exceptional performance.
Focus areas: Offshoring, Manufacturing, Operations, Restructuring, Quality Management, Strategy, Operational Excellence, Digital, Change Management

Strategy Associate | Task Forces

2017 - 2019
  • Acted as the program manager for task forces and tiger teams deployed to solve critical issues across the network. Led cross-functional teams spanning manufacturing, commercial, legal, communications, R&D, and supply chains.
  • Scaled the Nitrosamine task force, a task force responding to carcinogenic impurities detected in key products from 5 to 90 FTEs within a year while managing a budget of $19 million.
  • Led the batch release workstream of a critical tiger team by implementing actions to improve the batch release throughput time by 30% enabling inventory savings of $24 million.
Focus areas: Business Transformation, Turnaround, Crisis Management, Strategy, Production & Quality, Change Management

Sandoz Talent Excellence Program

2015 - 2017
  • Accelerated rotational program with 9-month assignments in R&D, quality, and manufacturing at different locations worldwide. I was one of the 10 applicants chosen out of around 1,000.
  • Deep-dived past product write-off data and presented an improvement plan to site management.
  • Led the creation and endorsement of the 2017 quality strategic plan. Consolidated a plan to drive initiatives across 60 manufacturing sites and 120 countries.
Focus areas: Manufacturing, Strategic Planning, Quality Management, Operations, Change Management

Strategic Assistant to CEO

2012 - 2013
  • Drove due diligence activities in joint ventures and M&A deals.
  • Head project manager for a green-field pigment manufacturing plant with an investment value of $20 million.
  • Managed term sheet finalization for the acquisition of a Belgian pigment manufacturing player with an acquisition value of $90 million.
Focus areas: M&A Modeling, Joint Ventures, Term Sheets, Due Diligence

Equity Derivatives | Pharmaceuticals

2011 - 2012
Morgan Stanley
  • Managed research coverage for Gilead Sciences (GILD), BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (BMRN), and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ).
  • Compiled detailed reports on industry trends through primary research, industry surveys, KOL interviews, and conference poster analysis.
  • Provided timeline information and impact analysis to traders on catalyst events, upcoming trial readouts, and FDA positioning.
Focus areas: Equity Derivatives, Biotechnology, Equity Research, Financial Modeling
2013 - 2015

Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering

ETH Zurich - Zurich, Switzerland

2007 - 2011

Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA


Valuation, Financial Modeling, M&A Modeling, Due Diligence, Equity Derivatives, Equity Research, Value Creation, Private Equity

Output Software

Office 2016

Data & Analysis Software

MATLAB, Power Pivot


Biotechnology, Strategy, Portfolio Management, Partnership Management, Change Management, Operational Excellence, Program Management, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), Operations, Digital, Business Transformation, Turnaround, Launch Strategy, Excel VBA, Diagnostics, Transactions, Term Sheets, Digital Health, Medical Devices, Post-Merger Integration, Offshoring, Manufacturing, Restructuring, Quality Management, Crisis Management, Production & Quality, Post-merger Integration, Miro, Canvas, QlikView, Renewables, Startups, Strategic Planning, Joint Ventures, Sourcing, Target Sourcing, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), Project Management, Digital Marketing

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