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A New World Ushers in New Trends: Alfasigma

By Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 10/15/2020 - 13:55

Q: What is Alfasigma’s focus for the Mexican market?

A: We are adopting a new focus regarding the portfolio we want to develop for the future, emphasizing specialty products and medicine for rare diseases. Our R&D and business development areas are heading in that direction. This has been a recent and significant development and we are just at the very beginning of this new course. There has been a really interesting evolution from within when it comes to R&D. We have set a budget to strengthen our R&D capabilities at our facilities near Rome. Having said that, Mexico can be involved in many of those projects.

We shifted our focus toward specialty products and rare diseases because it is a highly profitable segment and there still many unmet medical needs.  Thus, these segments could provide interesting ROIs and play an important role in needed new medical weapons to treat these diseases.  In addition, this approach allows Alfasigma to focus more on specialists, such as cardiologists or gastroenterologists.

Mexico plays a relevant role as we represent one of the most important subsidiaries within our organization. Whenever a new product or license is released, Mexico is among our priority countries. There are many opportunities in the country, particularly in the health sector where there is fertile soil for new products.

Q: How has Alfasigma’s approach to the public sector changed since 2019?

A: We are not actively involved with the government as a supplier. However, we have been paying close attention to certain public institutions specialized in specific treatments, given the role they play in the education of specialists. We are making a major effort in this regard, acknowledging, of course, that our participation is not yet that strong in this market segment.

Having said that, after almost two years in office, I cannot say innovation is a priority for the federal government. I believe its approach is more focused on providing medicines for all rather than have the latest innovation to the general population. The federal government has not shown any signs of giving R&D the importance it deserves.

When the pandemic arrived. everyone was welcoming the industry’s efforts regarding innovation given the number of new vaccines being developed. This might lead the government to appreciate innovation in the sector, particularly due to the industry’s capacity to provide an answer to the kinds of challenges the pandemic presented. I have a feeling that our image before the government has improved but that does not mean that the government is pushing for innovation.

Q: What has Alfasigma done to cope with the effects of the pandemic?

A: At Alfasigma, our No. 1 priority is our collaborators’ health. From the beginning of March, we started to implement all necessary measures to protect them. In addition, we are constantly looking for emerging technologies that provide greater safety. On the other hand, as a socially responsible company, we have supported many nonprofit initiatives to acquire the necessary equipment to protect patients. We have also focused on medical personnel’s mental health because they are being subjected to a high level of stress.

Q: What role are digitalization and data-related solutions playing in Alfasigma’s strategies?

A: The world will never be the same. The pandemic is accelerating existing trends, particularly the use of digital platforms, home office, state-of-the-art technologies and customer interaction. A key area where we will see greater developments is in automation. We are just getting started. As part of our local initiative, we are aware that the world is moving in a greater technological direction.

At Alfasigma, we are using data tools to conduct internal audits and spot trends. We have yet to see the results of this initiative, but I can tell you that management is the art of anticipating. If we can understand how the future might look, we can develop the right approach. I am confident of the steps we are taking.

Q: What are the opportunities for Alfasigma in the Mexican market and what are your short-term objectives?

A: When analyzing human history and economic cycles, we see highs and lows. Some changes are radical while others are smooth. Regardless, we can affirm that change is inevitable. This also applies to the political sphere. There is a new approach, different from previous governments, and it is our task to adapt to this new scenario. Adapting could mean a change in product portfolio, business model or customer interaction. When change is inevitable, companies should act, not react, and all members in the organization should be aware of this forward-looking mindset.

In the short term, our goal is to overcome the effects of the pandemic and the economic and health changes we are experiencing. Then, we will continue to adapt rapidly to this new normal. The third step is to assure Alfasigma’s financial stability to emerge stronger from the pandemic, while implementing all corporate guidelines. We are getting creative and we are excited about the future.

 

Laboratorios Alfasigma is the result of the merger between ALFA Wassermann and Sigma-TAU, two of Italy's most important pharmaceutical groups, along with Biofutura. It specializes in gastroenterology, rheumatology and cardiometabolics.

Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst

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