The Servier Way
Shedding light on the unique business model of French pharma’s most successful mid-cap.
Not long ago, Laboratories Servier was considered a somewhat mysterious and opaque actor on the world pharmaceuticals stage. Privately owned, smaller and sleeker than many of its direct competitors, but nonetheless formidably successful, Servier has, for many years, been characterized by its discreet, understated approach and a rugged pragmatism and diligence in ‘just getting on with the job’ well away from the glare of the limelight. These days, under the forward-looking stewardship of Olivier Laureau, the company has, been steadily opening up to the public eye and this year’s annual corporate conference is a case in point. The event afforded a rare opportunity for onlookers to ‘peer under the bonnet’ and discover the inner workings of what remains a very distinctive business model.
Like many mid-cap players, Servier is wary of spreading itself too thinly and will strive to scope in upon a handful of high-return biologics where the company feels confident it can build genuine expertise and leadership. "A group of our size – with 21,200 employees, and 4 billion dollar capitalization – has absolutely no choice in the present world of medicine, but to focus its research on a limited number of key biological pathologies and processes," acknowledges Emmanuel Canet, Executive Vice President of R&D. The group will thus be channeling its energies towards the development of oncology products while simultaneously continuing to advance its historic capabilities in specialties such diabetes, cardiovascular, immune-inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease. “Oncology will be absorbing some fifty per cent of our R&D budget by 2018 which represents a big increase from the 14 per cent allocation of two years ago,” he reveals. “Of our 23 molecules currently under development, 9 already relate to combatting cancer.”