January 25

AstraZeneca: Setting the Pace for Specialized Innovation

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As the world’s seventh largest pharmaceutical company with operations in more than 100 countries, AstraZeneca has brought its strength to Mexico and now is the fifth largest in the country. The company focuses on the development of highly specialized medicines for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, oncology, and respiratory diseases. While the company acknowledges the growing presence of generics in the Mexican market, AstraZeneca is prepared to face this growing competition.

Exclusive interview with Ugo de Jacobis, President and Director General of AstraZeneca Mexico

Q: Which particular AstraZeneca accomplishments do you think have been pivotal to advancements in the local market?

A: Today, AstraZeneca is a company worth US$26.1 billion. We are expecting strong and consistent revenue growth to meet our targets for 2017, leading to annual revenues of more than $45 billion by 2023, when we hope to be serving close to 200 million patients globally. Since the merger between Astra and Zeneca in 1999, AstraZeneca has been defined as one of the most innovative companies in Mexico, setting the pace for developing and launching new medicines onto the market. We have an innovative portfolio, with several market leading products, across cardiovascular disease, diabetes, oncology, and respiratory diseases all of which shows how AstraZeneca has been exceptional in matching strategy with execution. In 2001, AstraZeneca was ranked the 18th largest pharmaceutical company in Mexico. Today, we are in fifth place, having climbed 14 positions due to the strategic management of important medicines such as Crestor and Nexium. We are leading with these products even in the face of competition from generics. Today, AstraZeneca is shifting towards the development of highly specialized medicines, with biologics now accounting for almost 50% of our pipeline. Naturally, we are aware of the importance of primary care so we will maintain our diabetes and respiratory portfolio. However, our plans for innovation focus on further specialization within our main therapy areas with targeted medicines, including immunotherapies, with a view to building a more sustainable, durable, and profitable company.

Q: Why was a transition from primary care to highly specialized areas implemented as a strategy in Mexico?

A: Three strategic priorities support the implementation of this transition on a global level: achieving scientific leadership, a return to growth, and becoming a great place to work, specific goals that were set so that AstraZeneca could become a leading company in the specialty care area. Return to growth represents reallocating resources to our main therapy areas and key growth platforms. In Mexico, we employ four growth platforms that focus on acute coronary syndrome, and diabetes, respiratory, and oncology portfolios. Our goal is to become one of the three leading companies in this sector, and to do so, we will be launching six new products over six years. This includes our broad pipeline of next-generation medicines, focused on four main disease areas: breast, ovarian, lung, and hematological cancers. Moreover, the company’s portfolio for respiratory diseases includes drugs for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, among others, and we are developing several promising assets to treat inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Consecutively, we are investing in human capital to attract new talent, hence science and innovation is at the center of this transition, and our staff and organizational culture must support this.

Q: To what degree do you need to work with the Mexican public sector to reach these goals?

A: We stand out in the way we manage our medical affairs capabilities, which is a specialty many companies lack. We are now closer to key opinion leaders and stakeholders, running continuous education programs, and developing relationships with the public sector. It is clear that Mexico is moving in the direction of providing universal healthcare coverage, so we must build strategic alliances with public entities so that patients can access our innovative products. In the past, AstraZeneca’s stability relied on its primary care portfolio. Today, with increasingly innovative medical advances, complicated healthcare delivery and budgetary issues, we have to develop new alliances and partnerships with public institutions to generate advances in science and care to the Mexican population. This is the only way we can truly impact society and help patients.

This post is an excerpt of Mexico Health Review 2015, to be released in September 2015. To pre-order your copy click here. Please direct all media enquiries to jc@mexicohealthreview.com.


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