Dabbling in myriad healthcare solutions with a constant focus on innovation and technology, the pharma giant has witnessed exceptional growth figures and milestones over the last few years due to rapid developments in the sector. Scheuer Jean-Pau Scheuerl, MCO Lead and General Manager Sanofi Genzyme, Greater Gulf for Sanofi had a conversation with The Zone to discuss the company’s growth progression and key highlights of the year
As a leading biopharmaceutical company, over the years, how has Sanofi evolved both in terms of market position and product portfolio in the Gulf?
With more than 50 years of rich history, Sanofi has had a long and strong presence in the Gulf region. We are nearly 700 colleagues from 32 different nationalities, working every day, contributing to the region’s healthcare and economy. We have been a long-standing strategic partner to local health authorities here, and over the years, have collaborated on different national strategic initiatives.
Through Hoechst AG one of the life-sciences parent companies of Sanofi, we produced the first synthetic human insulin. Today as we celebrate the 100 years, we continue to pioneer possibilities for patients, including helping build a connected healthcare ecosystem. To name an example of the meaningful outcomes delivered through various partnership programs, we were able to educate approximately 34,000 children in more than 90 schools across the UAE. We also help to improve outcomes for patients, reinforcing our commitment to healthcare professional education where we have reached out to at least 25,000 healthcare practitioners in the region. Through these partnership programs, and various efforts, including scientific researches and CME programs, we continue to bring innovation, improve access to quality healthcare, enhance the practice of medicine, and help further build a healthy society.
What therapeutic areas are you focusing on in the Gulf region?
We continue to transform scientific innovation into healthcare solutions, in human vaccines, rare diseases, multiple sclerosis, oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular solutions, and consumer healthcare. Globally, we continue to invest in the next generation of cancer medicine. Sanofi’s strategy includes a focus on four disease areas: multiple myeloma and other blood cancers, skin cancers, lung cancers, and breast cancer and other hormone-positive cancers. Building on our leadership in type 2 inflammation R&D, we are also advancing against a range of immunological and inflammatory disorders, working across several core areas. Our global R&D efforts are supporting Sanofi’s ambition to be the number one company in the area of immunology in this part of the world. This complements our heritage and leadership in diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.
What according to you are some of Sanofi’s R&D highlights from the past year?
At Sanofi, we are passionate about scientific excellence because what we do today may improve the lives of people tomorrow. We work to transform scientific knowledge and medical advances into cutting-edge therapies to improve people’s lives worldwide. Discovering solutions for the world’s most pressing medical needs is our top priority.
Sanofi’s R&D community is:
- Investing in multi-targeting therapies to tackle multiple diseases with a single drug
- Working on combination therapies to make treatments more effective
- Developing new biologics to produce precision medicines
- Conducting breakthrough research to unlock the potential of gene therapy
- Leveraging artificial intelligence and innovative digital technologies to empower patients to better manage chronic conditions.
At the end of March 2021, the R&D pipeline contained 80 projects, including 36
new molecular entities in clinical development (or that have been submitted to the regulatory authorities). Thirty-seven projects are in phase 3 or have been submitted to the regulatory authorities for approval.
Despite the challenging times, last year, the company had 23 launches. What acts as the deciding factor for critical business decisions, especially when organizations around the world are struggling to keep pace with the changing times?
At Sanofi, we are driven by the evolving needs in healthcare. Our decisions to launch new innovations are motivated by our commitment to address patient needs. It remains a key priority for us to first bring to the county innovative treatments, and to make sure that a maximum number of people have access to them. Our commitment stems from the strong belief in the strategy and efforts of the governments to provide world-class and comprehensive healthcare for people. Sanofi in Greater Gulf delivered 23 product launches in 2019 – we are first to have fully virtual product launches across Sanofi globally and recognized consistently as a launch excellence hub across the company.
The year saw the launch of key innovations at Sanofi in the region. We are among the first in the world to have introduced innovative treatments such as first-of-its-kind biologic to treat moderate to severe atopic dermatitis and moderate to severe type 2 asthma. Our diabetes combination therapy, helping address patients in the region, who number to more than 50 per cent of patients in the region, is sub optimally controlled.
Considering the current healthcare crisis world over, what is the significance of an efficient supply chain and logistics to meet the global demand in the pharmaceutical sector?
The current global pandemic has been disturbing the supply chain activities, bringing in some major challenges. Many disruptions have been faced, starting with shortages of components to transportation constraints. Here, a robust supply chain process was key to ensure the treatment continuity of our patients. Agility and being proactive have been crucial, to allow us to avoid any negative impact on the availability of our products. This crisis has urged us to seek and explore alternative solutions, and thus taught us that it was crucial to diversify our resources. Lastly, it is essential to ensure a close collaboration across the company. The demand has become harder to assess with such new market dynamics, adding another complexity. And here, the integration and business partnering of supply chains with the commercial teams is fundamental to ensure the continuity of our business. Central to all these is the courage of our people all over the world. Going to work in our manufacturing sites in the worst moments of the pandemic.
The healthcare and pharmaceutical segment of Jafza is thriving, what is the added value of being a part of the free zone?
As a global healthcare company, it is important for Sanofi to be part of a strong free zone such as Jafza. We need a partner that understands our varied and complex business needs, and Jafza’s global connectivity and advanced business operating framework help us navigate through our business here with ease. Dubai has been facilitating our operations. It enables us to respond faster to patients’ needs, deliver innovative treatments and foster better access to healthcare. Such commitment is made possible through the world-class healthcare infrastructure that the UAE offers. As one of the largest of its kind in the Middle East pharmaceutical industry, our 2740-sq meter distribution centre at Dubai Logistics District serves as the company’s regional logistics headquarters.
It facilitates the delivery of over 22 million packs of medicines every year to treat the health conditions of patients in six countries. These include the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan and Iraq. In addition, we also occupy a 4,000-pallet location for ambient temperature control storage locations and another 450-pallet location for cold chain products storage from Kuehne + Nagel. Our distribution centre is equipped with the latest warehousing and cold chain technologies that adhere to the strictest global quality standards required to preserve the integrity of medication before it reaches pharmacies, and eventually patients.
Sanofi consistently features among the best places to work in the region, what things make an organization a great place to work?
Over the years, we have implemented initiatives that continuously enhance the overall work experience of our people. These include trainings, introduction of better workspace environments and an emphasis on diversity, which focuses on attracting and promoting more women in managerial roles. We have been recognised again as Top Employer (UAE & Middle East) by the Top Employers Institute for excellence in employee conditions (600 people practices benchmarked against global best practices). Internal survey results revealed 95 per cent are proud to work at Sanofi locally, compared to 90 per cent in 2018. We have achieved a 100 per cent target of internal training/development for colleagues with 3000 trainings conducted in the last two years.
As a Global Healthcare Company, It is Important for Sanofi to be part of a strong free zone such as Jafza. We need a partner that understands our varied and complex business needs