The European’s Global Healthcare Awards honour benchmark solutions. How do you see Dompé maintaining and growing its market-leading position?
Eugenio Aringhieri: “First of all, let me say it’s a great honour to be awarded with both ‘Best Performing CEO’ and ‘Best Therapeuthic Solution’. We are in the midst of a revolution. The world as we know it is rapidly changing. This is mostly true in the life science sector. The factors of the change we are experiencing are many – an ageing population, increased demand for new and more targeted therapies, the need for sustainable healthcare systems and, most of all, new technologies. I would define this as a sort of ‘renaissance’ of the life science sector.
All these new aspects contributed in creating discontinuity, bringing a disruptive scenario that – from my own point of view – pushed all the actors in the healthcare sector to rethink their own model, using this as an opportunity. We did it. We took this ‘innovation wave’ to become stronger and more focused on what we do best.
These major changes led, in my opinion, to a turning point for companies: in such a complex and evolving scenario, distinctive skills and competences count more than your effective size. Being big today is different from being a competitive company.
How did we approach this new era in Dompé? We based our strategy on three pillars. Firstly through focus. To me being focused and highly specialised is important, together with the ability to say ‘no’ when it has to be said – this is an attitude to maintain competitive advantage. Moreover, competitive advantage is always linked to distinctive competences.
The choice of focusing on something, of course implies to leave something else behind. It takes courage but allows you to target your decision. It is purely a matter of strategy.
Secondly, this is achieved by building a network and being strict with its application and usage. Being in a network allows both synergy and the ability to maximise it, as well as the opportunity to increase your skill base i.e. do something you couldn’t do on your own.
Our Ophthalmology Project comes, for example, from this strategy: an approach built upon focalisation and network interactions. We’ve recently gained EC Marketing Authorisation for our first biotechnological drug, which would be the first biotechnological drug authorised for the treatment of adult patients with moderate or severe neurotrophic keratitis, a rare and disabling eye condition.
At the end of July this year we also signed an agreement with the medical biotechnology company MolMed for a 15-year exclusive license and distribution of Zalmoxis, a patient-specific cell therapy, conditionally authorised by the European Commission for the treatment of adult patients affected by leukaemia or other high-risk haematological malignancies. An important agreement that will allow us to bring Zalmoxis to patients, a gene therapy that is extremely consistent with the path that sees us committed in trying to find answers to still unmet and orphan therapeutic needs.
Let me point out the third key factor: contamination. I think that, for the life science sector, it is important to move forward, hand in hand with the digital and technology industry, and so with skills different from yours, it easily allows you to look at the future, stronger than before. Searching for contamination is an imperative for a sector like ours, in which you have to anticipate trends and needs. In this case looking at new technologies is a way to push beyond the limits of your own industry. Think of the ‘wearable’ concept: in the future there will be an increase the need to track and keep data connected, while processing them through artificial intelligence. ‘Wearable’ means always connected so this approach will become strategic.
I think this depicts Dompé’s approach to the future and how we are planning to maintain our position on the market.
The European Healthcare Awards stand for global excellence and innovation. As technology is centre stage of innovation in the 21st century, what can you tell us about Dompé’s latest technological advancements and how have they impacted on your solutions?
EA: A digital and technological approach pervades all our activities, our value chain, from R&D hub to the market. In R&D, for example, as I’ve said we have an open innovation approach through a network of 200 research centres based all around the world, with major collaborations with some of the most renowned institutions such as Harvard.
Connections are, in our strategy, the right way to develop synergic competences and to get a better result. Open innovation, in life science, means be open to the world and to extend the possibility of getting a better output from R&D. It’s about connecting what I do best with what you know best, in order to achieve the best possible result.
In manufacturing we are experiencing new frontiers opened up by industry 4.0. Of course, here technology plays a big role. I would define our plant as a ‘smart factory’. Since 2013, we started an implementation plan in line with what the concept of ‘Smart Factory Industry 4.0’ meant. The goals are many – not only do they give strength to our strategic and development project but they also focus on productivity and quality; resource optimisation and constant support for company decision-making.
We implemented a continuous monitoring of our activities through a control network, which, with the ability of artificial intelligence, allowed us to process all the related data.
Of course digitalisation is strictly linked also to our commercial operations and to our relationship with patients and all the different stakeholders (doctors, pharmacists, distributors). Think to the new frontiers offered by home delivery of therapeutic solutions or patient’s monitoring tools, but also to the dialogue you can now build with all you stakeholders via web and social media platform. We believe in this revolution!
Many of The European’s readership represent CEO’s of fortune 500 companies, major banking firms, Healthcare – Biotech companies HNWI’s and more. What message would you convey to them?
EA: Having the leadership of a sector, for a Company means being ‘trained’ to the discomfort represented by something new. Change is a fundamental aspect and the only constant element in the market, so you will need to be an expert on how to manage change and to turn it into your natural condition.
This is the job of a CEO, you must always face the future in a different way. You don’t have to know all the answers, ask for new questions instead.
This is also what I’m looking for in the people I work with. I don’t mind how many times they fail, but how long they take to rise from a fall.
So my message is this – be resilient, manage the change and always measure your reaction time.