AstraZeneca: Geoff Collett explains how AZ are searching for local opportunities to deliver medicines for unmet needs.




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Video title: AstraZeneca: Geoff Collett explains how AZ are searching for local opportunities to deliver medicines for unmet needs.
Released on: November 23, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Geoff Collett, Regional Business Development Director - Europe, Global Commercial Operations of AstraZeneca.
Geoff Collett's role as Regional business development Director,Europe
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BIO-Europe, in Duesseldorf in 2011. On this show I have Geoff Collett, who is Regional Director Business Development, Europe for AstraZeneca, welcome.
Geoff Collett:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Geoff as I said you are a Regional Director for Business Development within Europe that role for AstraZeneca is obviously important for adding new products to the subsidiary companies within the AstraZeneca group I presume, so could you tell us give us some sort of indication of where you fit within the AstraZeneca organization?
Geoff Collett:
Sure, and be happy too, the regional role is a fairly recent role within AstraZeneca, these jobs were created probably around two-years ago when AstraZeneca was really looking at its business development organization. So clearly we have business development people focused on in the innovative medicines groups looking for some of the earlier stage technologies and products, but we've also decided to move business development a little closer to the customer so to speak, so these regional units were set-up and they're not large but they really serve to support the regional Vice-President and his team in terms of communicating the global externalization strategy and also defining what the components are from a regional strategy and that could be anywhere from it could be should we be buildings new plants say in Latin America, should we be doing peer-to-peer collaborations in Europe to leverage our sales infrastructure, and the third one would be potentially branded generic acquisitions or collaborations with companies in that business in Latin America for instance.
Focus on opportunities in late stage products
Fintan Walton:
Right, so when it comes to you sourcing these opportunities and obviously one potential source of the companies themselves within the particular region others could be you know companies may be in Japan or maybe in the US who may have retained rights say for an example for the US but they are available now for Europe?
Geoff Collett:
That's true.
Fintan Walton:
So you are out on the road presumably talking to companies all around the world?
Geoff Collett:
Well I am not specifically but there are five of us placed in the five regions that AstraZeneca has the world divided up into. So Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East in Africa, Asia Pac and Europe, so what we would do is we will in Europe for instance we would identify opportunities that made sense either from the pan-regional basis or say for France or Germany for instance and we would try and access that opportunity.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, and obviously you are looking at later stage products or products that are ready for commercialization?
Geoff Collett:
Pretty much, yes pretty much as I said earlier we have focused on the clinical phase and the discovery phase assets.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so just let's look at Europe, because Europe is a patch work in a sense because you got obviously we're looking at region but within each country there are different needs at a country-by-country level, so how difficult is Europe compared to other regions in terms of identifying suitable products?
Geoff Collett:
I think it's quite tough in Europe for a number of reasons, this is a developed marketplace so many, many products that were developed in Europe have been launched in Europe, that were developed in the US and Japan have been launched in Europe. I think there are challenges from a reimbursement standpoint too in fact serious challenges that try to diminish an incremental innovation so only sort of true innovation would win the day from a pricing standpoint, so it is quite a challenge.
Deal strategy in Europe
Fintan Walton:
Sure, and the other thing of course is that when you look at Europe you've got mid-size, a lot of mid-sized companies so are you whoever operating within the European region exclusively some of them are traditional family owned businesses are you entering into what sort of deals are you entering into with these companies? Are you entering into a co-promotion, co-marketing type deals are you just looking for outright rights to that those particular products?
Geoff Collett:
I think traditionally we've always been willing to work with partners in terms of co-marketing and co-promotion, in fact we have something like 35 alliances here in Europe for the co-marketing and co-promotion type activity so that's the traditional way we have not really looked seriously at acquisitions on the regional basis lets not say we wouldn't do them, but it's not a particular focus for Europe at this time.
AstraZeneca's strengths and advantages in Europe over other competitors for partnerships
Fintan Walton:
Right, so if I was a European based company or may be outside Europe and I an looking at launching a product in Europe, why would they why should I you know select AstraZeneca over another company?
Geoff Collett:
Well I think there is a couple of reasons, one is that we have a great track record in terms of commercialization of primary care and specialty care products, I think that over the past five-years we've made a real investment in trying to get to know not only our competitors but other specialty companies so try and build some sort of foundation and trust, let them know what it is we are looking for and trying to understand what their aspirations are too, so I think that we can leverage our global networks, we can certainly leverage our commercial infrastructure too and that commercial infrastructure includes our reimbursement capabilities and I think there are all valuable assets that we can bring to the table to help perhaps a smaller company to leverage their asset fully in Europe.
Fintan Walton:
Right and then how much is driven by the individual subsidiary companies within Europe they come to you with a shopping list of products that they'd like to have on the market?
Geoff Collett:
Yes that's sometimes the case, but we actually we take a bit more of an active role from a regional standpoint, we actually conduct commercial scans for full products that may fit in its actually quite a detailed activity, but what we'd look for is products that are performing in some markets and not in others and we're trying to understand why they are not performing, why they are not getting their fair share of the market in certain markets, then we look at what value could AstraZeneca bring to a partner in order to bring that product up to a fair share market value. So from my perspective it's absolutely critical that we get that local company perspective, because when you look across 18 markets none of it's the same, but if there is an opportunity in France that you can quantify and say that's truly an opportunity then you can look at Spain and Germany and see if it's an opportunity there, so that's how we approach it but because of the nature of Europe we do have to customize our view of opportunities.
Importance of branded generics to AstraZeneca's portfolio
Fintan Walton:
Sure, so you've mentioned the other thing you've mentioned was branded generics, so how important is branded generics to the AstraZeneca portfolio?
Geoff Collett:
I think that branded generics play a role as you know we are committed to innovation we are not, we are not diversifying into OTC's and generics, but in certain markets and I don't think Europe is one of them, Eastern Europe perhaps but certainly Latin America and China and other markets are certainly markets where that will benefit from the introduction of branded generics and these are quality medicines manufactured in a world class way, but in Europe not so much branded generics perhaps have a role in Turkey that would be the only territory that I could see would have a role.
Approach towards Alliance management
Fintan Walton:
Right, the other aspect of course we've talked about alliance management in deal making for when products are in development but also alliance management when you've got relationship with the company when the products on the market is equally important so what's AstraZeneca's approach to alliance management?
Geoff Collett:
Yes, well you know it's fundamental, I mean the work really begins when the deal is signed, we have for instance we have a centre of excellence space in Alderley in the North of England where we have a group of people who are expert have a unique skills and it really starts I think with communications and maintaining the communication between the partners when they sign the deal everything is great, when they just try to implement the deal things take on take different terms, the communication and the purpose from this push the strategy forward is absolutely critical. I spend a good deal of my time 30 to 40% managing the alliances we have, because these are operating businesses they are generating profit for our partner and ourselves and they require maintenance and I think that we have also start driving that down to a level where people fully appreciate the need to maintain the relationships with our partners.
Future activities
Fintan Walton:
Right, so if you just look into the future now just in terms of what's your activities are is there gonna be a changing strategy to the way in which you look for opportunities or you gonna build, continue to build on the existing strategy which you've described to us?
Geoff Collett:
I think we were gonna continue to build, I think that opportunity opportunities change as needs change, as patient needs evolve we will look for opportunities so as we can deliver medicines for unmet need, there will always be business challenges that we will look to satisfy, so I think that we'll continue to work in the way we've traditionally worked, but we will evolve.
Fintan Walton:
Geoff, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Geoff Collett:
It's my pleasure.
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).
Geoff Collett
Director
At the time of recording this PTV interview Geoff Collett works as Regional Business Development Director, Europe, AstraZeneca. Geoff has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and the life sciences industries. He began his career in sales, and progressed through a number of sales and sales management roles before specializing in licensing and business development. During the past 15 years he has held senior management and leadership positions including; Director, Business Development and Planning at GlaxoWellcome, Vice President - Early Stage Investing at MDS Capital, Vice President, Corporate Development at Lorus Therapeutics and currently is Director, Business Development at AstraZeneca. During this time he has completed numerous transactions in North America, Europe and Latin America and has provided management and Board of Director services to early stage companies such as GeminX, Terragen Discovery and Cytochroma.
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.
AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca discovers, develops, and commercializes prescription medicines for cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, infection, neuroscience, oncology, and respiratory and inflammation diseases worldwide. Its products include Crestor for managing cholesterol levels; Seloken-ToprolXL for hypertension, heart failure, and angina; Atacand for hypertension and heart failure; Nexium for acid reflux; and Synagis for the prevention of serious lower respiratory tract disease caused by respiratory syncytial virus in pediatric patients. The company's products also comprise SeroquelIR for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: SeroqueXR for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depressive disorder; Arimidex for breast cancer; Zoladex for prostate and breast cancer; and Symbicort for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In addition, the company develops and manages hospital-based outpatient cancer centers in the United States. AstraZeneca PLC markets its products primarily to primary care and specialist doctors, and other healthcare professionals through distributors or local representative offices. The company was formerly known as Zeneca Group PLC and changed its name to AstraZeneca PLC in April 1999. AstraZeneca PLC was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom.