Brendan O’Callaghan is Executive Vice President for Global Industrial Affairs at Sanofi. He speaks about global manufacturing operations, supporting Sanofi’s increasingly diverse pipeline, and taking a digital-first approach to chasing the miracles of science that will help transform the practice of medicine for patients.
Q. How would you explain industrial affairs in a pharmaceutical company?
A. We manufacture, supply and distribute medicines to patients all around the world. We have a very large network, with over 65 sites in 30 countries supplying 140 countries worldwide.
When our research colleagues discover a new medicine, they develop an initial process by which we can produce it. Our responsibility is to then transfer that technology to our larger scale manufacturing network. This enables us to launch the product, get it approved by the regulatory authorities, and then grow the manufacturing capacity to meet the demand for those treatments across the global network we serve.
Q. How did COVID-19 change your mindset or approach to operations, and were there specific changes particularly relevant for Europe?
A. I think COVID was a catalyst in revealing fragilities in Europe related to pharmaceutical innovation and manufacturing capacities. We’ve learned the importance of supply chain resilience and being capable of withstanding shocks, to protect the health and technical sovereignty of Europe as well.
It is important to have a really strong health infrastructure. The COVID-19 crisis prompted therapies to reach patients in record time, with rolling reviews and scientific dialogue demonstrating their value during the development and registration of vaccines in the EU. Clearly during COVID, that was done under situations of extreme challenge and crisis management, and it showed that we can move at speed and with no compromise on Safety, Quality or Efficacy.
If you look at COVID alone, obviously mRNA technology was at the forefront in delivering a rapid response. A lot of that discovery came out of Europe, so it shows we’ve got the scientific innovation capacities here.
However, the challenge for Europe is to leverage and build on that scientific and innovation capability. There’s an opportunity to see how we can pull all of those building blocks together in terms of health care innovation more broadly. I think defining a long-term vision of where Europe wants to lead is going to be important to helping us deliver and connect all of that ecosystem. If we cannot be successful in leveraging that capability to scale innovation, there’s a risk we’ll get left behind in terms of scientific progress and better serving public health.
Q. Sanofi recently made important investments related to its industrial network. In Europe, which investments are you most proud of?
A. We have many things to be proud of in Sanofi. We’re one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in Europe, with almost two-thirds of our global footprint here. We have over 40 production sites in the continent — 18 in France alone — which cover all stages of manufacture: from the active ingredient through to the final dosage form. All of this capability — across all technology platforms — exists within Sanofi today, so we’re very proud of that.
We’re continuously investing in our facilities, reaching over €1 billion a year globally. But more importantly, we’re investing for the future, to bring the latest in technology and innovation to help us be more effective and efficient. For example, we’ve announced that we will invest in two facilities we call EVF (Evolutive Vaccine Facility) — one of which will be located in France and the other in Singapore. It’s setting a new standard for the manufacture of large molecules or biologics and vaccines, in terms of enabling flexible manufacturing at scale and with speed. These facilities will give us the flexibility to switch from one product type to another within the same facility, allowing us to meet the scientific needs coming out of our research labs and giving us the agility to respond with speed to the needs of growing patient populations.
But, to answer your specific question, what I am most proud of are the women and men who, every day, work to discover, develop and deliver scientific miracles which help patients in Europe and all over the world live healthier, better and longer lives.
Q. Our world is now predominantly digital-first. Could you tell us about your digital roadmap for industrial affairs at Sanofi?
A. The accelerating knowledge and understanding of biology is creating new opportunities for science and innovation in our labs. We see a shift in manufacturing. Rather than facilities that supply medicines to very large patient populations, we’re moving to an era of much more personalized approaches to health care.
We need to pivot to capabilities where we can switch quickly from one product to another. Part of our ability to do that will be our capability to automate and digitize, to make sure we’re capturing all the data we need to really understand our processes better. They can therefore become more reliable and efficient, enabling even greater access and reach to patients across the globe.
For example, we’ve recently announced a partnership with McLaren, where we’re leveraging technology, data and analytics to accelerate our manufacturing efficiencies and build truly world-class standards of performance excellence here at Team Sanofi. The Formula One sector is focused on innovation in a competitive, high-performance, team-based environment where the margins between success and failure are very small. We’re working with a team of folks from McLaren, leveraging their experience and expertise in precision engineering and advanced analytics to capture the important data coming from our manufacturing equipment. We then use that advanced data in machine learning and AI to help us optimize the performance of our production lines. We are building this partnership with one clear objective: to improve our manufacturing efficiencies so we can accelerate the reach of our medicines and vaccines to ever more patients around the world.
Q. About a year ago, Sanofi announced its commitment to working towards a healthier planet. What are your main goals and actions in that area?
A. We all see the impacts of climate change in front of us, and we all understand the sense of urgency to respond to that. At Sanofi, as a health care company focused on improving and extending lives, we take incredibly seriously our responsibility in trying to minimize the impact of our operations on the environment and the local communities where we operate.
Hence we’re committed to being carbon-neutral across our operations by 2030 and to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. We aim to make all of our sites around the world use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
Those are pretty ambitious goals from where we start today. We’re accelerating the mobilization of teams and working hard with our technology partners, to identify innovative technologies that can help us progress towards our goals. I think the current situation in Europe, with the tragic circumstances in Ukraine, reinforce the priority of climate change, carbon neutrality and ultimately being more efficient in the use of our scarce natural resources, particularly for energy.
We are an innovative global health care company, driven by one purpose: we chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives. Our team, across some 100 countries, is dedicated to transforming the practice of medicine by working to turn the impossible into the possible. We provide potentially life-changing treatment options and life-saving vaccine protection to millions of people globally while putting sustainability and social responsibility at the center of our ambitions.
Sanofi is listed on EURONEXT: SAN and NASDAQ: SNY
https://ift.tt/E6Zj7t1 June 13, 2022 at 08:30AM