FT Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Conference

Ipsen on the ‘biotech mindset’ and how to ‘focus on the why’

By Vassia Barba

- Last updated on GMT

In-PharmaTechnologist / Picture taken during the FT conference
In-PharmaTechnologist / Picture taken during the FT conference

Related tags Ipsen Management Patient centricity Drug delivery Research Research and development

Speaking at the FT Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology conference earlier this week, Ipsen’s CCO said that pharma manufacturers need to focus more on the ‘why’.

Having recently reported a sales increase​ of 16% during Q3 2019 and having completed a record $1.3bn (€1.18bn) acquisition​ of Clementia, Ipsen appears set for further growth.

Asked about the company’s strategy to maintain this growth and how it will answer the ongoing challenges that the industry faces, Harout Semerjian, Ipsen’s chief commercial officer, who gave a keynote interview during the Financial Times Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology conference that took place in London earlier this week, advised industry leaders to ‘focus more on the why’.

“We need to continuously study our moves out front and focus on the 'why’: why do our partners decide to take the journey with us, and why do they continue on it?”,​ the executive said, and added, “Holding promising assets and acquiring the right talent are also important factors, but questioning our moves is very important.”

Besides, he noted, valuable leadership teams need to have ‘diverse thoughts’ in order to cope with ongoing challenges, as well as to ensure that they are working under a ‘clear methodology’.

Semerjian also spoke about what his company calls the ‘biotech mindset’, according to which leaders are required to find ways to accelerate decision making: “We start dreaming on Monday, come up with an operational plan on Tuesday, and start implementing it on Wednesday.”

Moreover, Ipsen’s CCO spoke about the need for larger pharmaceutical companies to tap into external innovation, by saying “we look for research coming from everywhere.”​ However, he confirmed, when asked, that the company is currently making “a shift towards [internal] drug development.”

Regarding patient centricity, one of the main current topics of discussion​ across the industry, Semerjian noted that this should be a shared way of thinking for all the members of the organization, rather than just for a department with this specific mission.

He provided the example of an undisclosed development project of Ipsen, with which the company decided not to move forward. However, employees of the company suggested that it should continue with the delivery system utilized, as it was found to be liked by patients.

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