Pharma Faces: Zealand’s Emmanuel Dulac Targeting 5 Commercialised Products by 2025

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Although Zealand Pharma has been around for 23 years, it has made rapid progress since French national Emmanuel Dulac took the helm as president and CEO in April 2019, with a first new drug application (NDA) and approval, a first in-licensing, and two acquisitions.

 

Dulac – a veteran of Novartis, Shire and Alnylam – feels that the switch from Big Pharma to heading up a biotech is not for everyone, but that those willing to take the plunge can make a huge difference to a biotech’s fortunes. “People with Big Pharma experience can make a huge difference in smaller companies, because they have seen what good looks like and can easily apply time-tested principles around governance and structure which quickly lead to results,” he explains.

 

“The well-organised way of working in larger companies pays off much more in a smaller structure with the agility to make decisions quickly and fix problems. If sufficient experience is brought from outside into small companies, they can be turned into fantastic, productive machines.”

 

After 23 years, we are now building Zealand into a fully integrated independent commercial company and have the right finance, pipeline, and science in place to do so

Emmanuel Dulac, Zealand Pharma

 

Zealand’s transition into one such machine is well underway, with the above host of ‘firsts’ for the firm, including the establishment of a commercial entity in the US. “After 23 years, we are now building Zealand into a fully integrated independent commercial company and have the right finance, pipeline, and science in place to do so,” proclaims Dulac.

 

At the forefront of this strategy is Zealand’s Zegalogue® (dasiglucagon) injection, a rescue treatment indicated for the treatment of severe hypoglycaemia in diabetes patients aged six and above which now has US FDA approval. Unlike other drugs in Zealand’s pipeline which have been brought to market via out-licensing or partnering, Dulac has decided that the time is right for Zealand to bring a product to market itself.

 

“We always had the ambition to become a fully-integrated commercial entity,” he explains. “The best method of maximising return on investment for years of research is by commercialising a product ourselves. Previously, the company was not really assessing what it would take to commercialise this product successfully in the US or elsewhere. However, when I came on board, I leveraged my commercial background to set a plan for launching the product after approval and successfully bringing it to market.”

 

Dulac is targeting the US rather than Zealand’s home continent of Europe, at least initially, outlining that while “Europe is a fantastic market, it is very complex, with different policies, regulations, and pricing across the 27 EU member states.” He continues, “There is a need for people on the ground in each country to launch a product across Europe; something not yet feasible for a company of our size. In contrast, our analysis showed that we could cover around 80 percent of the USA’s volume of prescribers with a small but nimble commercial team.”

 

Looking forward, Dulac has set Zealand the ambitious target of commercialising five products by 2025 and is confident that this goal can be achieved. “Our investors are in it for the long-term, have backed us solidly so far, and we have a great board of directors in place who support our vision,” he boldly states. “Each of our programs could be the basis for individual companies in their own right, which gives us a unique chance to execute our strategy and prove to the world that we are a fantastic company in the making.”

 

Read the full interview here


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