A Year in Review: An Interview with Antidote CEO, Laurent Schockmel

It’s been one year since Laurent Schockmel took the helm at Antidote. We sat down with Laurent to talk about his journey from scientist to CEO and hear his reflections on his first year at Antidote. Here’s what he had to say:

Early in your career, you worked on clinical trials, and now you've come full circle in a sense. What draws you to medical research?
I’m a scientist by background and I have always enjoyed solving problems — looking at a challenging puzzle and thinking about how all the pieces fit together to form a solution. Applying that interest to science, I am fascinated by understanding the causes of a disease or mode of action of a drug. And while medicine has become more complex in the past 30 years and progressed immensely, it’s shocking to me that patient recruitment for clinical trials has not evolved at the same pace. Three decades later, it remains one of the major bottlenecks to accelerating medical research. Solving this puzzle is very compelling to me.

Why did you choose to come to Antidote?
There is a critical need to improve patient recruitment and when I learned about what Antidote was doing, I was intrigued for several reasons.

First, Antidote is truly putting patient centricity into action — it’s not just a buzzword for us. It is core to the mission of the company, from our tools and processes to our dedicated employees, who joined in part to make a difference in the lives of patients.

Second, I’m very interested in the cool technical and digital components of our solutions. Having sold CRM software for 16 years, I can say for sure that what we are doing in the digital health space is much more exciting!

Lastly, Antidote can provide data-driven insights for the industry to inform better study design, clinical trial performance, and more. I know the enormous potential in this data, and I’m excited to see what we can do with it. 

What were you most surprised about when you came to Antidote?
The passion of our employees! I’ve seen so many company mission statements that sound overstated and disingenuous, but from my first week to today, I've been continually inspired by the team’s commitment to our mission. It’s refreshing, and it motivates me to continue to drive us towards achieving our vision. 

What has been your biggest challenge in your first year leading the company? 
I was brought on to help drive operational excellence. Since I’ve joined, we’ve revised our strategy and future plans and reset our cost base, which meant making some tough decisions. It’s been incredible to see how the team has stepped up, and now we are in a much stronger position to accelerate going forward.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the last year? 
We’ve seen some pretty big changes here at Antidote — the most important of which I would say is a renewed focus on what matters to execute our strategy and achieve our mission. We’ve also updated our messaging and positioning to better explain our products and services to clients, which has been instrumental in getting some important deals signed. As a result, we have strong sales momentum at the moment, with significant growth in terms of bookings and a backlog that puts us on the right foot for our next phase.

How do you find the culture at Antidote? Has it changed over the last year?
I don’t think it’s changed. The passion for caring and helping patients in their journey is as strong as ever. Our culture is one of collaboration — genuine willingness to help each other, regardless of who is on what team, when someone needs support in their work or even personally. And the beauty is that we don’t need to publish a list of values to see that spirit at work every day.

What’s next for Antidote? Where do you see the company in five years?
We have a well-structured strategic roadmap with exciting opportunities to fuel our growth, and we’re entering an exciting phase. We’re determined to master each step of that roadmap before we move to the next, and have planned a logical evolution of our products and service offerings to achieve just that. White labeling our platform, internationalization, and leveraging our unique and valuable data set are the most immediate opportunities. There are plenty more to come after that! Antidote is now well-positioned for significant growth and to become a leading player in patient engagement.

What are some key leadership lessons you’ve learned?
Communicate, communicate, communicate...with key stakeholders, employees, clients, and investors alike. 

Running a company is like a love affair. There will be ups and downs, but to weather the storms, you must have earned the trust of your significant other to expect backup and support when you need it. If we stop talking to each other, there is no way to build that trust and collaborate effectively.