On September 26th, this interesting round-table conference organized by the Alumni Association of IE Business School took place with first-class international speakers. The event was organized by the alumni Luis Truchado, EuroGalenus Executive Search (AIMS International Spain), and Ignacio Tuduri, BUM at Abbvie.

Ángel Fernández, President MSD-Spain explained that competition to identify new molecules for incurable diseases has increased substantially and reduced the return on investment which is currently negative. The key now is to improve access to market. In his opinion, the future global market lies in emerging markets, while Europe is falling behind. MSD has always been strong on R&D resulting in 17% of sales, a relevant percentage among the companies of the same sector, and even more if compared to other sectors. ‘We must try to be first in class or best in class’. ‘At MSD we focus on innovation, where patient comes first’, Angel Fernández stated.

Next, Luigi Antoniazzi, General Manager BAXTER-Spain, offered data about the evolution of business models and structures over time. Baxter is a well-diversified company, with relevant presence in the areas of haemophilia, dialysis, parenteral nutrition, fluid therapy, biosurgery and vaccines. Half of the products researched and developed do not match economic expectations. ‘Besides the innovation, we invest in added-value services to offer personalized services that improve patients’ quality of life and that ease the transfer from hospital to home care’, he added.

Finally, Ricardo Brage, VP Sanofi Pasteur MSD-Spain, a joint-venture since 1994. Both mother companies are devoted to R&D and manufacturing, so their portfolio is vast, covering 20 diseases with 25 vaccines and protecting 390 million people in Europe only. Production cycles for vaccines are very long: from tender until supply, timelines are very tight. Ricardo underlined ‘the success of vaccines for diseases such as smallpox, polio or measles’, and commented that ‘in Spain the public market has decreased almost by half’.

During this participative round-table conference, questions were about the limitations of public financing, cutbacks and lack of sensitivity to industrial investment and R&D in the sector. Afterwards, guests were served a light cocktail, courtesy of AIMS-Spain Executive Search, as a chance for talking in a more casual way and for in-person networking.