Michael Jaharis Jr. '50
2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
A strong Greek work ethic has driven Michael Jaharis Jr. ¢50 to commendable professional success. At age 78, Jaharis served as the chairman emeritus and director of Kos Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company that developed drugs to treat chronic cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, with a focus on improving existing FDA-approved drugs. Jaharis was co-founder of the company and served as chairman of the board since its inception in 1988. In his role as chairman, Jaharis was actively involved in the development of the company’s business strategy.
Jaharis holds an associate degree from Park College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Carroll. During his Carroll tenure, he was a member of the football team, Varsity letter winner and member of the Beta Pi Epsilon fraternity.
Following graduation in 1950, Jaharis served in the Korean War where he developed an interest in medicine which influenced his professional career in the pharmaceutical field. His professional career began at Miles Laboratories in 1953. During the day he worked at Miles as a sales representative, and went to school in the evenings at DePaul University where he obtained a law degree in 1958. He would serve as legal counsel and eventually became vice president and general counsel of the pharmaceutical company’s Ethical Drug Division.
In 1972, Jaharis and partner Dr. Phillip Frost acquired Key Pharmaceuticals and turned the tiny producer of cough and cold remedies into a powerhouse with newly-developed, top-selling asthma and cardiovascular drugs. Under his leadership as president and chief executive officer, Key’s sales increased 100-fold before the company’s $836 million merger with Schering-Plough in 1986.
Two years later Jaharis launched Kos Pharmaceuticals, which dominated the market with its cholesterol-lowering drug niaspan before being sold to Abbott Labs in 2006 for $4.2 billion. Today, he is founder and director of Arisaph Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held drug discovery and design company, and a founder of Vatera Capital LLC, a private investment firm focusing on the healthcare industry.
Jaharis served on the Carroll Board of Trustees from 1980-1991. He is also a trustee of Tufts University Medical School, where his son Steven Jaharis earned his medical doctorate; former director of the National Asthma & Allergy Foundation; board member on the U.S. Greek Business Council and Leadership 100, an endowment fund for the Greek Orthodox ministries; pioneer member of Dade County United Way and a former member of the American Lung Association President’s Council. He is currently a director of the Jaharis Family Foundation.