Amgen Spain: Success in Europe

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Video title: Amgen Spain: Success in Europe
Released on: April 08, 2010. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks with Jordi Marti, CEO at Amgen Spain. Filmed at Bio-Europe Spring 2010 in Barcelona, Spain, they discuss:

• Why Amgen decided to set up key centres in Spain

• Spain as a market for Amgen

• How Amgen's Spanish operation has changed in the last 20 years

• Spanish biotech's effect on Amgen's strategy

• How decentralisation in Spain can benefit Amgen

• Amgen Spain's future

Why Amgen Inc decided to set up key centres in Spain.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here in Barcelona at BioEurope. On this show I have Jordi Marti, who is CEO of Amgen Spainhere in Spain, welcome.
Jordi Marti:
Welcome, thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Jordi Marti, Amgen Inc is one of the most successful biotechnology companies out of the United States. Its history goes all the way back to the 70's and early 80's and today it's obviously a global company and its presence here in Spain is quite unique it's got a particular special position here you are based here in Barcelona you've also got offices in Madrid, so tell us the story about how Amgen Inc decided to invest here in Spain and to take Spain as one of its key centres?
Jordi Marti:
Yeah.In fact that it's an important year for us due to the fact that it our 30th anniversary from the global company because we started everything in 1980 and it's our 20th from the local affiliate perspective so that it's an elderly company from the biotech perspective but we are feeling really young from the perspective that we have a lot of projects for the future. The fact that Amgen Inc invested in Europe and we were one of the first countries that they developed all the business is obviously because that it is an important market for Europe and then at that time as I was telling to you in 1990 that we decided to have the base the company here in Barcelona, here mainly because as you probably know we have 50-50 pharmaceutical business between Barcelona Madrid so they are both a lot of tradition from pharmaceutical and science in Barcelona and that was the reason why Amgen Inc came here. In fact I it is my 19th anniversary in the company, so I am an elderly guy from this perspective not from other.
Spain as a market for Amgen Inc .
Fintan Walton:
Right.So obviously it's an important market for selling Amgen Spain products, but it's equally an important territory from a clinical development program because as you say a lot of research particularly the clinical research was done here in Spain.
Jordi Marti:
Fintan Walton:
And what was it about Spain that made it an attractive place to do these clinical trials?
Jordi Marti:
There is a reason if you are taking from the business perspective Amgen Spain now represents 7% of the total Europe or what we call International out of the US. If you take that by and that it's on the top five countries but the fourth or fifth position depending on the year, but if you are taking and considering only what is R&D and clinical development we are the second country in Europe. So we have attracted a lot of clinical development projects and especially early phases and that is to the fact that the hospital setting and investigators that we have in the countries is really well known and has really an excellent position and I would say that these frame work that we have on the hospital has created us these advantage for attracting these investment and as I was saying 50% of all the trials that we have are now in early phases but that was something difficult upfront when I joined the company but now I think it is one of the big success that we have because obviously we are delivering with high quality and that is the more important thing.
How Amgen Spain's Spanish operation has changed in the last 20 years.
Fintan Walton:
And has Spain changed over the last 20 years as Amgen Spain's been here because obviously in the past Spain had a number of its own independent pharmaceutical companies still has a number here the general environment itself for doing clinical trials has changed would you like to make a comment on that?
Jordi Marti:
Yeah, obviously we have changed because in1990 when we started our operations we were only two people here and now we are close to 250, so we have grown a lot in fact we are still growing but it's a little bit unusual in the times that we are just running and the question I think that from our perspective I think that it's critical just to deliver all these quality on the clinical development studies and that is something that obviously if you are not delivering this quality at the end you are not going to be competitive. I think that the main problem I have been talking about that the main challenge that we have is to convince the administration of both local, regional and the national health authorities that they have to have politics that are really recognizing innovation is the only way that we can attract these innovation otherwise we are going to lose this competitiveness against global world where other countries are doing really good, good work in that.
Spanish biotech's effect on Amgen Spain's strategy.
Fintan Walton:
So from very early stage research I mean obviously Spain has started to develop its own biotech industries more a number of smaller biotech companies are emerging how important is that to Amgen Spain's strategy here in Europe?
Jordi Marti:
That is important, I would say that we can contribute in different levels from a big large biotech company like us. I think that one thing that we can bring for sure is all the expertise that we have in all levels on production, on intellectual property and commercialization and a lot of market access a lot of things because obviously we had a lot long experience on developing and commercializing products in fact we've now six products here in the country that are really innovative product. From the other side what I would think is that then we have to leverage that with the fact that the government has to understand that they are not just bringing this value and when I am talking about the government or the administration I am talking about all at all levels in the administration we cannot have only the Ministry of Innovation just supporting us because we have not the economy and we have not the health ministry that they are just designing or developing whether the policies for innovation at the end we are going to lose this competitiveness. And one of the things that are is really a concern worrying is that we have the lower prices in Europe and at the end if recognition, if innovation is not recognized at the end we are not going to be able to attract all these kind of innovation. The other thing that we can do is just looking for some licensing opportunities in all these research centres that we have all over the country and especially in Catalonia there is well organized and well known that we are that the region is attracting a lot of talented people from abroad. And there are really good research centres here so that is why it is trying to get these communications and look for synergies and then having these partnerships.
How decentralization in Spain can benefit Amgen Spain.
Fintan Walton:
So I suppose the thing about Spain is as you've just pointed out obviously you got the national government providing some level of support but it's really at the local level like here in Catalonia that you start getting another level of support and infrastructure that's developed to support pharmaceutical companies?
Jordi Marti:
Exactly, because I would say that this country what it happens is that we are really of the centralized country on the health competency so we have that what are the national policies on reimbursement but at the end the policies on health are being managed by the 17 regions that we have, so the other things that we have to look for something that has to be at least coordinated from the perspective that the whole of Spain has to have this kind of approach in order to be competitive in front of the different countries that we have not only in Europe but all around the world.
Amgen Spain's future.
Fintan Walton:
And when you look at Amgen Spain's activity you've talked about its presence here in Spain for 20-years what do you see happening over the next 45-years here in Spain particularly for Amgen Spain's perspective do you, you got the issue of reimbursement always is an issue for pharmaceutical companies but going forward did you see do you have a level of optimism about Amgen Spain's presence here in Spain?
Jordi Marti:
Sure, I am optimistic about that due to two reasons first because we have a really good pipeline that it's everything in innovative company and in fact this year (indiscernable) decided to have to nominate Amgen Spain as the best pipeline so that's good news from the perspective that we are in a risky business but we have a good pipeline so that is good for our perspective in the future. Here I think that I am really always optimistic that we have to share our thoughts with the administration and trying to get this partnership with them in order to create the value of our drugs and there must be the value for our drugs and at the end that the patients can access to this drugs that are innovative obviously they are going to at least increase the quality of life of patient.
Fintan Walton:
Jordi Marti, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Jordi Marti:
Thank you.
Jordi Marti
Jordi Marti is CEO of Amgen Spain . He has graduated in medicine, MBA from ESADE and PADE (senior management programme) from IESE; J. L.
Amgen Spain
Amgen Inc is an international biotechnology company headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California. Located in the Conejo Valley, Amgen Inc is the largest independent biotech firm. The company employs approximately 14,000 staff members including the 125 Allied-Barton Security staff and A-post personnel in 2007. Its products include Epogen, Aranesp, Enbrel, Kineret, Neulasta, Neupogen, Sensipar, Mimpara and Nplate. Epogen and Neupogen (the company's first products on the market) were the two most successful biopharmaceutical products at the time of their respective releases.