Country Report: Austria - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: Austria

Pharmaceutical Executive


Robert D. Lefebvre, Vice President Commercial Operations Europe, Middle East and Asia, Kedrion International
Following the end of the Second World War, Vienna served as an important hub that connected Western and Eastern Europe for many industries. However, following the end of the Cold War, and particularly in recent years, the emerging markets of Eastern Europe may give the impression that Vienna's status as a hub or gateway is becoming somewhat obsolete.

Gerald Schrot, managing director of Biotest Austria, believes that "centralizing talent in Vienna is good for Austria. With competence comes a network of talented individuals as well as capital, particularly in the financial world, where Austrian companies have been very successful in former Soviet satellites. Austria is a small country with a history of diplomacy, and I believe that resonates with individuals when doing business in other parts of the continent."

Gerald Schrot, Managing Director, Biotest
Such an example of this success can be seen with hygiene specialists Schülke and Mayr. Alfred Grün, general manager of the company's Austrian affiliate, says that Austria is "the leading ­country in the Schülke group, by 40 percent more than the next country. This is important as the mentality in Austria is very sensitive and flexible, which allows it to cover the Eastern European market successfully."

Floridotower, Pfizer offices
Michael Norman, general manager of Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania for Bristol-Myers Squibb, noted that while many international companies still use Vienna as an operations center, "more companies are putting satellite organizations in cities like Bratislava, due to lower costs when compared to Vienna. Additionally, moving across borders is much simpler today, and so the sensitivity that comes with asking a North American CEO to put a significant plant or office in Bratislava or Bucharest has diminished."

KWIZDA: Generations of success
Robert Lefebvre, vice president of commercial operations for Europe, Middle East and Asia for blood-plasma derivatives company Kedrion International, notes that "as the markets of countries like Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic continue to evolve and their healthcare systems strengthen and mature, their ability to start accessing rare disease products that we make is growing. They need to be able to access them in a way that allows for stable and ­consistent supply."

Berthold Cvach, General Manager, Astellas Pharma GmbH
Günter Cseh, managing director of Meda Pharma Austria, also says that smaller Eastern European countries will probably continue to use Austria as a hub, but will require more independence. In a region like the Balkans for example, "distance between countries is far less. Doing business remotely does not always work in this region, despite modern communications. Face-to-face relations are essential, and the farther east you go, the more important it becomes. Companies must be able to make decisions in those countries without constantly having to consult headquarters in ­other nations."


Johannes Sarx Managing Director, Life Science Austria Vienna
A significant amount of revenue is invested in Austria by pharmaceutical companies into research and development. Oncology serves as one of the most important and active areas of therapeutic research in Austria. Berthold Cvach, general manager of Astellas, a merger of Japanese pharmaceutical companies Yamanouchi and Fujisawa, says that "for oncology, as Yamanouchi was not present in the Austrian market before the merger, we had to launch the portfolio from scratch in 2006. In a couple of years, I expect that we will be leading in this therapeutic area as well. I can only make predictions, but I am very confident. We will introduce the molecule enzalutamide (branded Xtandi in the US), which is a significant breakthrough and is expected to become a blockbuster drug." Teva has also managed the acquisition of Cephalon to strengthen their oncology business, and Takeda Austria has a hospital and oncology franchise where the company distributes and manufactures TachoSil® patches in Linz. Pfizer is currently working on a personalized treatment for lung cancer. Many other companies in Austria also have a strong research focus in this therapeutic area, making the country outstanding in this ­segment.


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