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Jonah Shacknai

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Jonah Shacknai
Photo of Jonah Shacknai
Jonah Shacknai
NationalityUnited States
EducationColgate University
Georgetown University Law Center
OccupationPharmaceutical executive

Jonah Shacknai (born 1957)[1] is a pharmaceutical executive. He was the founder of Illustris Pharmaceuticals[2][3] and was the founder, chairman and CEO of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation.[1] He also served as Chief Aide to the US House of Representative's committee for health policy.[4]


Shacknai earned his BS from Colgate University[4] and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center.[2][5][6]


From 1977 until the end of 1982 Shacknai worked as the Chief Aide to the committee on health policy in the US House of Representatives. As such, he wrote key legislation on health care, environmental and consumer protection, and science policy.[7] He also served on the Commission on the Federal Drug Approval Process and the National Council on Drugs.[4][8][9]

Shacknai served on two federal cabinet-appointed positions; he was a member of the National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Advisory Council and on the US-Israel Science and Technology Commission.[4][10][11]

Law firm

He was a senior partner at the law firm Royer, Shacknai and Mehle from 1982 until 1988. The firm represented multinational pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers and four major industry trade associations.[4]

Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation

Shacknai founded Medicis Pharmaceuticals in 1988.[12] In 2012 he left his positions as CEO and chairman when Valeant Pharmaceuticals purchased Medicis for $2.6 billion.[13]


He serves as executive Chairman of DermaForce Partners. He held an executive position at Key Pharmaceuticals Inc and served on the Listed Company Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange (LCAC)[4]

Awards and recognition

Shacknai was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters by NYCPM, an affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.[14] He received the “National Award” from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, and the “President’s Award” from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He also has several “Lifetime Achievement” Awards from dermatological societies.[15] In 1997 he received the Arizona Entrepreneur of the Year Award.[4] In January 2000 he was selected as Entrepreneurial Fellow at the Karl Eller Center of the University of Arizona.[14][16]


He was a director of Delta Society, an organization that promotes animal-human bonds, and a director of the Whispering Hope Ranch a foundation that promotes animal-assisted therapy for children and adults with special needs. Shacknai was a director of the Southwest Autism Research Center and is on the Board of Trustees of the National Public Radio Foundation.[12] He served as co-chairman of the foundation board of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and president of the MaxInMotion Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that assists economically challenged students and student athletes with disabilities.[5][16]

Personal life

Shacknai is remarried, and is the father of five children, including Max, who died in July 2011 shortly after Shacknai's then-girlfriend Rebecca Zahau.[17]


  1. ^ a b Rosen, Jamie. "Medicis Man". W Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  2. ^ a b MarketScreener. "Jonah Shacknai, PhD - Biography". Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  3. ^ "Jonah Shacknai". April 2020. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Shacknai, Jonah". The Wall Street Transcript. 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  5. ^ a b "Leadership". Illustris. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  6. ^ "Jonah Shacknai, Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp: Profile and Biography". Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  7. ^ Shacknai, Jonah (1985). "Trade Secrets under the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984". Food, Drug, Cosmetic Law Journal. 40: 329.
  8. ^ Hoover's, Incorporated (2004). Hoover's Handbook of Emerging Companies 2004. Hoover's, Incorporated. pp. 239, 502. ISBN 9781573110914.
  9. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Technology. Subcommittee on Domestic and International Scientific Planning, Analysis, and Cooperation (1978). The role of R.& D. in improving the quality in urban life. U.S. Govt. Print. Office. p. 429.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ CQ Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. 44. Congressional Quarterly, Incorporated. 1986. p. 2099.
  11. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Technology. Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight (1982). Robotics: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the Committee on Science and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-seventh Congress, Second Session. U.S. Government Printing Office. pp. 1, 112.
  12. ^ a b "Jonah Shacknai - Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation (mrx)". The Wall Street Transcript. 2001-01-10. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  13. ^ Gonzales, Angela (11 December 2012). "Valeant, Medicis complete $2.6B merger; Shacknai out". Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  14. ^ a b "Jonah Shacknai". 17 July 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  15. ^ "Leadership | MaxInMotion". Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  16. ^ a b "Jonah Shacknai". Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  17. ^ "Parents of 6-year-old boy initially believed Rebecca Zahau saved their injured son". San Diego Union-Tribune. 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2019-07-16.