Vincenzo D’elia
General Manager
Laboratorios Alfasigma
View from the Top

R&D Investment Key to Competitiveness

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 10:25

Q: How does Alfasigma differentiate itself in Mexico and where are its key business focuses?
A: We are an Italian company specialized in gastroenterology that aspires to develop on a global scale. Our differentiating factor is to ensure strong compliance and to sell highly distinctive products. Today, if a company does not offer a differentiated product, it is going to find it difficult to compete. Alfasigma’s business focus and products will remain on primary care, although we do not discard the possibility of entering specialized care in the future.
Q: Alfasigma is present in North America. What role will Mexico play in expanding throughout the Americas?
A: The next step is to consolidate the company in other Latin American countries. Alfasigma’s international division has a department for the Americas region, which stretches from the US to Patagonia, Argentina. The company is evaluating market conditions and the best way to strengthen its presence in the region, whether through a subsidiary or through a licensing deal. There are many attractive markets in Latin America where Alfasigma does not have a significant participation but this will change. When that happens, Alfasigma will introduce its four therapeutic areas to all the countries in which it expands.
Q: How important is R&D for Alfasigma and what are the company’s research priorities?
A: Scientific research is one of the engines of development for Alfasigma. We want to continue innovating and introducing new products to remain competitive and economically sustainable. Alfasigma is the result of a merger between three Italian companies, Alfa Wasserman, Sigma-Tau and Biofutura. This merger increased our investment in R&D, product innovation and business development, while also providing a further investment to improve the company’s manufacturing facilities. Alfasigma will continue to focus its R&D investment in gastroenterology.
Q: What benefits does Alfasigma expect from participating in the Jóvenes Construyendo el Futuro (Young People Building the Future) program?
A: Alfasigma was one of the first laboratories to be affiliate with this program that now has more than 219 companies participating. Through this program, Alfasigma is making a commitment to offer job training and monetary support in collaboration with the government to young people who are starting their professional experience. It is a very interesting program and all companies should participate to contribute to the country’s talent development.
Q: How are generic medicines impacting your longer-term strategy for Mexico?
A: The only way to address the challenge from generics is through innovation. When a company constantly develops new products that have a high differentiated value, it will find a more effective way to compete in the market. The day an innovative medicine company stops investing in innovation will be the start of the end for that company. Alfasigma does everything necessary to continue being efficient and innovative in the market. We launch new products constantly.
On the flip side of the coin, the government should invest in the necessary medicines and elements to contribute to the healthcare needs of its population. It is absurd that a country like Mexico with its high potential and one of the top world economies has limited access to innovation. The starting point is to make people see that innovation is not an expenditure but an investment for the long-term. Fortunately, the administration of López Obrador has shown positive interest in investing in innovative products. Our pipeline does not include products that address Mexico’s epidemiological changes but that does not mean our business development area is not considering it. If agreements and market conditions suggest that investing in other therapeutic areas is good for the company, then it will look to introduce new products to its pipeline.