Kerstin Valinder explains Nycomed’s transformation from local Scandinavian company to Global Pharma Company




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Video title: Kerstin Valinder explains Nycomed’s transformation from local Scandinavian company to Global Pharma Company
Released on: February 16, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Kerstin Valinder, Vice President of Licensing at Nycomed
Nycomed : Focus on emerging market and role as a global player
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here in Munich at BIO-Europe 2010. On this show I've got Kerstin Valinder, who is Executive Vice President of Business Development at Nycomed , welcome to the show.
Kerstin Valinder:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Kerstin Valinder, Nycomed is a company that is very well known around the world, it's a company that is obviously based here in Europe often perceived to be a Northern European company, just before we start talking about your role as Business Development, what is the best way to describe Nycomed ?
Kerstin Valinder:
I would like to say that Nycomed is a rapidly changing company moving from it's Northern European heritage by a strong Central European presence now going into emerging markets as the primary growth driver going forward. So yes we are based in Europe, we are headquartered in Switzerland, we have still most of our income from Europe, but that is changing rapidly so this year we expect more than one third of our turnover to be in emerging markets five-years from now probably to 50, 60% may be more. So that is a big change.
Fintan Walton:
So, are you a regional player or are you a global player?
Kerstin Valinder:
I would say that we are definitely a global player with organizations in 70 plus countries, what makes us different from the real big pharma global players is that they have only very limited presence in the United States with a specialized drawmark business. So when it comes to launching big products we will partner for the US territory.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and for some US biotech companies that might be good thing because this is an opportunity for them to have a play in that?
Kerstin Valinder:
We have found that we are a good match with a number of partners for that very reason that we are not in the US and do not have big ambitions to grow in the United States.
Organisational structure of Corporate Business Development
Fintan Walton:
Right, well before we go into the types of certain deals you are looking to do, lets just look at Nycomed 's organizational structure as far as business development, licensing and acquisitions is concerned, so obviously you head up the business development function?
Kerstin Valinder:
Yes, I head of what we call the corporate business development, which is let's say taking responsibility for Global, European, regional deals and then we have local business development people out in our affiliates to do the very specific on demand kind of local deal making that it's complimentary to what we are doing from corporate, and then of course we interact and we stay in touch all the time to make sure that we coordinate in a good way, but the corporate business development function consisting of in-licensing, out-licensing, mergers and acquisitions, and evaluation, and intelligence function that works with helping out to assessing the deal.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So what's important here is that from what I understand that you were saying not only are you looking a structure so you can do global deals, but you are also structured to try and look for regional deals as well?
Kerstin Valinder:
Absolutely and I think it is very important, Nycomed is a company that has grown through acquisitions so our portfolio is a bit, bit of a patch work and we have some global products and a focus influence as the respiratory field, inflammation , pain and gastrointestinal, but out in the regions and in the looks we may have additional therapeutic areas which we need to look after and also now when we are moving to the emerging markets then again we have a totally different set of products that are really attractive in that setting as compared to what you may find appealing in Germany, or France, or the UK.
Acquisiton of Techpool Bio-Pharma, China
Fintan Walton:
Right and then to emphasis point that you are interested in the emerging markets you've just done an acquisition recently in China, could you just tell us briefly about that?
Kerstin Valinder:
Yes happy to, we bought a majority stake in the Guangdong based company which is called Techpool, Techpool Bio-Pharma [PharmaDeals ID = 37979] and we bought it to get access to a company which is fully fledged with R&D with manufacturing, but perhaps most important with us is it's a marketing infrastructure which Nycomed is looking for you know to launch our products and also in-licensed products into China, we did have a presence before but not big enough and it would take us too long to try to expand through organic growth, so this was a very logical step for us.
Launch of Roflumilast and the commercial opportunity
Fintan Walton:
Okay, now the other thing about Nycomed is it's a company that's not unknown for dealing with block buster drugs and you are now about to launch a new product in Roflumilast tell us bit about that launch, because that's I think helps to establish the character of Nycomed ?
Kerstin Valinder:
Yes, and this is let's say the biggest commercial opportunity Nycomed has had for many years. It is the first in class COPD product, first oral treatment specific for COPD and as Nycomed is at this point in time experience patent expiratoin of our other big product of course we find this launch as very important thing for the company and then what one could imagine that Nycomed will say that okay in the US we need to partner, but in the rest of the world we will use this to build and expand our own infrastructure and partly yes, but partly no because when we had partner, had found a good partner in Forest [PharmaDeals ID = 33736] to launch Daxas in the US as sort to looking at the launch plans for Europe we ask ourselves are we optimizing this product by doing it entirely by ourselves or should we see if someone else could add value which customers which we wouldn't reach and get increased pressure in the launch as and having done that analysis we found that really going together with someone would probably make sure that we certainly utilize the potential in the product. So early this year we signed a deal with Merck, Merck & Co who will be our co-promotion partner in most of the Europe the European markets [PharmaDeals ID = 35780] and in the UK [PharmaDeals ID = 35839] they will actually be our exclusive licensee for the product.
Types of products for inlicensing
Fintan Walton:
So Kerstin Valinder, what types of products are Nycomed looking to in-license?
Kerstin Valinder:
So if we look at global deals or wider territories we have a therapeutic focus in respiratory, pain, inflammation, in gastrointestinal and also in our business for surgical tissue and management so surgical products are of interest. If we look at regional local level we can have a broader more opportunistic approach, but I think that across geographies we are right now looking for opportunities near market or on the market, we have fortunately a farely full pipeline not saying that we are not looking for anything, but we are being very cautious not to add more than what we feel we can handle in the good way while we have a big demand for marketed or near market products.
Fintan Walton:
So when a company if a company has gone to near to market products or products that are on the market why should they do a deal with Nycomed ?
Kerstin Valinder:
I think that if I represent another company I think I would look at Nycomed and say that hey this is company that is very dependent on the partnering and they have been doing it for a while so they are probably quite used to it, quite good at it. And the partner will always be a priority in Nycomed , because we are not rich enough or big enough in our own R&D to be able to be in anyway not paying attention to our partners and their needs. I think that is probably the most important and then of course we have a track record of successful launches of partner products.
Fintan Walton:
Sure, so does that mean when you talk about near to market products are you talking about market the products that necessarily have to be occupying large markets are you looking for niche products?
Kerstin Valinder:
I think that we are very much fond of niche products, we because in particularly if they are complimentary to our existing business they add not just the turnover and the income but also a good connection, good service offering to our customers, so I would not at all say that we are only looking for big products we are looking for good products.
Early stage vs later stage deals
Fintan Walton:
Right, and when it comes to earlier stage deals are you looking to do earlier stage deals get access to platform technologies or is your focus still further down that?
Kerstin Valinder:
I would say that our primary focus is on projects where you say that okay this is product which is in development, then I think that this changes so rapidly a little depending on what we have in the pipeline we are not a huge company that means that one or two projects that are ongoing go south, we will have available resources and the demand to look for something else, but so I would say that we will always over the longer time period have interest in products in any case in if any phase of development.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so you are quite open to looking at all types of opportunities, but in the end your preference is for later stage products?
Kerstin Valinder:
Yes.
Future expanision plans and partnership strategies
Fintan Walton:
Okay. So when it comes to how you now grow going forward, I mean clearly in-licensing of further product is critically important you've mentioned the acquisition in China as well, so what sort of expansion plans do you have for taking the company forward, is it still just going to be you know in-licensing products?
Kerstin Valinder:
We have an R&D in the company, but it is very targeted very specialized and it is designed to be complementary to the partnering, so I think that is perhaps one of our important value propositions to partners well that we can take own development projects from very early phase and all the way through and in-license will continue to be very important. I think that when we look now at our growth initiatives for emerging markets it is geographic expansion but it's also a matter of feeding that new organization with products that are suitable for the emerging markets and that may not be identical to what is really appreciated in Germany or in the UK, or in France, so we need to work along let's say several different dimensions both finding the infrastructure, the companies that will help us leap start or have a quick start into the emerging markets, but also the products that will then build and fuel that business.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So again when somebody thinks about Nycomed and they look at as a potential partner they should look at it as a company that's willing to look at a global market but equally it's a company that has an interest in developing in the emerging market which as you just said really is a basically another list of products that you would be interested which may not be the ones that are mainstream products that you would find say in Europe or US is that correct?
Kerstin Valinder:
Yes that is very true, and I think that one could describe as the partner who can pick up let's say territories outside the US, because that is all for what a biotech company might be looking for they may have their own plans for the US but they want someone to help out outside and to be honest we do not have an organization in Japan, so I should say outside the US and Japan but the rest we feel that we are in good shape to take on products and do something good about them.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so what when we look now at Nycomed going forward in the future you are going through the launch of Daxas which will and hopefully change the company again in terms of certainly in terms of revenue going forward, so more deals going forward?
Kerstin Valinder:
Absolutely more deals, and one thing that we shouldn't forget is that if we now want to buy companies, we want to buy products, we want to grow, we want to expand it is also matter of being a bit let's say strict looking at what we have and should we license out should we find partners for some of the products we have in our pipeline to make sure that they we get the right attention that they are developed as quickly as possible and also that we early on secure who will sell our products in the United States for instance. So we will also be working with quite some out-licensing of pipeline projects going forward.
Fintan Walton:
Kerstin Valinder, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Kerstin Valinder:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton
Dr.Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures. After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan( US )and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland ), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc(1982-1992).
Kerstin Valinder
Executive Vice President
Kerstin Valinder has over two decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She joined Nycomed in 1999, having previously worked for Astra and AstraZeneca. She holds a degree in journalism from Gothenburg University, Sweden.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Nycomed
Nycomed is a privately owned, global pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. The company employs 12,000 associates worldwide and has affiliates in more than 50 countries. Nycomed has a strong presence in Europe and in the emerging markets in Russia/Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia and Latin America. Nycomed ranks 28th among global pharmaceutical companies and is the 16th largest provider of OTC medicines. Nycomed 's differentiated portfolio of branded medicines is focused on gastroenterology , respiratoryand inflammatory diseases , pain, osteoporosis and tissue management. An extensive range of OTC products completes the portfolio. Nycomed has 16 manufacturing sites: 5 centre's of competence in Europe for global products as well as 11 production sites for regional products in fast-growing countries such as Brazil and Mexico. A major investment is being made in a new pharmaceutical plant in Russia, currently Nycomed 's biggest single market.