Think Small Grow Big - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Think Small Grow Big
After Adderall, what's next for Shire? CEO Matthew Emmens thinks the answer lies in a simple strategy.


Pharmaceutical Executive


Lilly has launched a major DTC campaign, but Emmens says that actually helps Shire: "Strattera's DTC is causing awareness to increase. We went from 15 to 18 percent usage in adults in the first two months of their campaign. We don't mind if somebody comes in and expands the market. There's space for both."

Company in Transition Product launches at any company are exciting. But when they coincide with a reorganization, a transatlantic move of talent and resources, and the impending expiration of a key patent, it's more than exciting times: It's a new company being born.

At the very least, it will have new personnel: 400 jobs will be created at Shire over the next three years. The company plans to hire about 240 people by the end of this year. And with the US headquarters now located in the "pharmaceutical corridor," Shire will draw on a significant pool of research and commercial talent.

As such, expect Shire to poach from other companies. "We are looking for people who have, as Matt calls it, the 'team gene,'" says Anita Graham, executive vice-president of human resources. "In return, we're a company big enough to offer great opportunities now and career development in the future-but also small enough so people can walk in and have an immediate impact on the organization."

As for getting products in the door, Emmens poses Shire as a type of industry antihero-willing to pay, but unwilling to take the risk. "Our target area is post proof of concept," says Emmens. "You pay a premium at the end for it. But I'd rather pay for that at the end and have a product that I'm pretty sure I'm going to get than pay for it at the beginning."

Shire also backs its status of partner of choice with a solid reputation. "Shire can move a lot quicker than other companies who are trying to do the same things that we're trying to do," says Shire chairman and nonexecutive director James Cavanaugh, former president of SmithKline & French Laboratories and president of Healthcare Ventures.

Speaking with Emmens, one can see why Shire has sparked so much interest: "Everybody uses the term specialty a little differently," he says. "But Shire's model is particularly interesting because it's been successful. It's a UK company that has managed to come into the US market and create a half-billion dollar product in a market with a relatively small sales force.

"Shire has an interesting model, which has many years left to play out in. I don't want to look like Pfizer or Glaxo or Abbott or AstraZeneca. I actually suspect it is the other way around. There will be more companies aspiring to be like Shire, rather than Shire aspiring to be like other companies."


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