Pharm Exec Q&A: Japanese Wedding - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Pharm Exec Q&A: Japanese Wedding


Pharmaceutical Executive


In the case of Daiichi Sankyo, the answer was yes—particularly to be able to match the scale of companies in Japan, and multinationals outside of Japan. Whether this is the perfect match or not is debatable, but the critical mass is absolutely essential for Sankyo and Daiichi to be able to compete on a global scale.

Both Daiichi and Sankyo were kind of losing momentum—they were becoming smallish compared with some of the big companies coming into Japan, like Pfizer. Together, their sales force ranks second in that country in terms of size.

But now, we face the prospect of doubling the size of our company and infrastructure to accommodate the launch of new products in the next two years. Currently, we have 1,000 people in the United States, most of them in our sales force. But we need more effort here. In a five-year period, we could be looking at 3,000 people.

That's still pretty small, and it's clear to us that there is an advantage to that in terms of culture, intimacy, and flexibility. As we become larger, we cannot lose that focus. We have many people who come from Big Pharma and they like the small company atmosphere. The challenge is to be able to maintain that attractive culture, but yet be able to compete with the bigger companies, and to be able to grow and triple our size.

On Leading Change

The key to leadership is to be able to construct a vision of what the company could be realistically—and to articulate that vision to the whole organization, and then live through that strategic planning vision. If you don't know or can't articulate where you're going to be in five years, it's impossible to lead.

We did that from day one. We put together a five-year strategic plan, and we continue to live and evolve that plan. We will now spend this year reaching a steady state as an integrated company and creating a platform to launch three products in the not-too-distant future.

The biggest challenge for a leader during a merger is to not be distracted from the everyday job of running the business. It definitely changes your life for a full year. There's a huge challenge in that large chunks of time must be devoted to the integration. We worked with an outside consulting firm, Deloitte, to carefully design the process to take some of the workload off of the managers. But you still find yourself in double gear, trying to run the business and conducting a fair process for the integration. There's no magic to it. It is a lot of work. Fortunately, we had a very good year in the United States last year, so we were able to exceed our targets for sales and profit, and at the same time, every single manager throughout the company was involved in the integration.


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