Sharon Cunningham is CEO, Co-Founder and board member of Shorla Oncology (‘Shorla’), a speciality pharmaceutical company headquartered in Ireland with an office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. The company has developed an innovative pipeline of oncology drugs for global markets focussing on women’s and children’s cancers, solving unmet needs and delivering a significant contribution to patient care.
Sharon is a Chartered Accountant by profession; having graduated with a BSc in Finance from University College Cork, Ireland, she trained with PricewaterhouseCoopers (‘PwC’) in Ireland.
Following 4.5 years with PwC, including a secondment to PwC New York, she spent 7 years at EirGen Pharma in Waterford, Ireland; first as Management Accountant, then Financial Controller and subsequently Head of Finance. She led the raising of an early-stage equity investment of €19m and was the internal lead on the company sale for $135m to US multinational OPKO Health Inc. (‘OPKO’) in 2015. She became a compliance officer and member of the SOX disclosure committee for NASDAQ listed OPKO.
Sharon undertook a two-year executive MBA at University College Dublin Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, graduating in 2015. She went on to co-found Shorla Oncology with her EirGen Pharma colleague, Orlaith Ryan in January 2018. Three years since founding the company, the duo have raised €10m, attracted world-renowned investors, board members and advisors and have an advanced portfolio of speciality oncology products with FDA (the regulatory authority) approval imminent.
Sharon was awarded the title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2019 and was included on a list of 50 people to look out for in 2020 by the Irish Times. She also won the prestigious Worldwide Association of MBA's Best Entrepreneurial Venture Award 2020. In 2019, she led an international team to win the MIT-Harvard Medical School Healthcare Innovation Bootcamp Pitching Competition in Cambridge, U.S. Shorla was named Local Enterprise of the Year at the KPMG/Irish Times Business Awards 2020. Sharon was recognised as one of the 100 most influential CEO's in Ireland by the Business & Finance Media Group 2020.
Passionate about the promotion of equality and in particular, gender balance, Sharon is a current member and previous board member of Irish Rule of Law International, a joint initiative of the Law Society and the Bar of Ireland and Northern Ireland dedicated to harnessing the skills of Irish lawyers in using the law as a means of tackling global injustice and empowering all people to live in a society free from inequality, corruption and conflict. Sharon is a currently an Advisory board member at LSX Female Founders.
With her track record as Head of Finance, CEO and board member (both executive and non-executive), Sharon brings key operational, strategic and governance experience.