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Nicole Szlezak


Leads environmental, social, and governance as well as our sustainability work in the firm’s Life Sciences Practice; serves organizations on innovation, growth, strategy, and organization design

Nicole is a partner in McKinsey’s Zurich office and a core member of our global Life Sciences Practice. She also coleads our efforts in sustainability in the life sciences domain.

Trained in both medicine and policy, Nicole works with executives on strategy, innovation, growth, organization design, and operating-model transformation.

Her work covers all areas of biomedical innovation, including emerging areas like cell and gene therapy and the microbiome.

When working on R&D transformation, she takes a holistic approach to improving performance, focusing equally on productivity and effectiveness, talent and culture, and organizational health.

Examples of her recent client work include the following:

  • supporting a global life-sciences company in evaluating the impact of the ongoing biological and technological trends on company business and distilling implications for strategy
  • designing and supporting a major pharmaceutical company’s multiyear effort to transform their R&D operating model to gain productivity and strengthen innovation culture
  • advising a cell- and gene-therapy company on transitioning from a technology company to a product developer
  • supporting a midsize pharmaceuticals company in designing its access to medicines strategy in order to achieve socially inclusive growth in line with its sustainability strategy
  • helping a top pharmaceutical company transform its customer interaction model in medical information and safety

Nicole is particularly passionate about the intersection between innovation and sustainability and the ways in which technology can be harnessed to achieve sustainable goals in the environment and social dimensions, like health equity.

Published work

Europe’s Bio Revolution: Biological innovations for complex problems,” McKinsey & Company, January 2023.


Center for International Development, Harvard University
Research fellow

Prize4Life Inc.
Science officer, chief science officer, and board member

University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine Tübingen
Physician, clinical researcher, science journalist


Harvard University
PhD, public policy

Harvard University

Tübingen University Hospital
Doctoral degree, medicine

Humboldt University of Berlin
Medical degree