Childhood medical battles shaped his quest to deliver more effective treatments
Guadalupe Hayes-Mota ’08, MBA ’16, SM ’16, was diagnosed with hemophilia at birth. He had limited access to medication in the small city in Mexico where he grew up, which meant long hospital stays for bleeding episodes. When he was 12, his appendix burst and he underwent emergency surgery, followed by a desperate eight-hour ambulance ride to another hospital in search of better medication to stop the bleeding. Doctors told his parents he was unlikely to survive.
Today, Hayes-Mota is the director of global supply chain and manufacturing at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, which is developing treatments for rare and ultra-rare diseases—including a gene therapy for hemophilia that would require treatment only once every few years. He is in charge of developing strategies for manufacturing therapies and distributing them to 35 countries; his responsibilities range from keeping production on schedule to predicting changes in the supply chain. “What motivates me is knowing that whatever I’m doing could determine whether a patient will get a medicine or not—it takes me back to my childhood,” he says.
Frequently confined indoors by his illness, “I was the kid who would break toys apart to put them back together,” Hayes-Mota recalls. During high school in Southern California, where his family had moved seeking better medical care, he heard about MIT. “It sounded like a place where problems can be solved,” he says. After graduating from MIT with a chemistry degree, he worked in health care and public policy, but “I realized what I really care about is organizational transformation—how to scale up changes in systems,” he says. So he returned for a dual MBA and master’s in engineering through the Leaders for Global Operations program.
At MIT, he reflects, “there is the sense that it doesn’t matter where you come from—as long as you’re smart and driven to change stuff, you’ll be part of the conversation.”
Having come out as gay during his first year at MIT, Hayes-Mota was heavily involved in the student LBGTQ+ organization G@MIT. Now he is co-president of the alumni group BGLATA (Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Alumni). He is also a board member for Save One Life, a nonprofit that provides medication, scholarships, and business grants to people with bleeding disorders in developing countries. He says that a sense of responsibility to improve the lives of others drives everything he does: “If I don’t do it, who will?”
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