PharmaBoardroom’s 10 Most Read Interviews of 2021


PharmaBoardroom’s ten most-read executive interviews of 2021 reflect the wide scope – in terms of both geography and value chain – that our work has taken on in the past 12 months. From one of Asia’s leading regulatory bodies to some of the Middle East’s most dynamic emerging companies via global superpowers and biotech success stories, these are the ten conversations that have most captured our audience’s attention this year


Ayman Tamer – Chairman & Managing Partner, Tamer Group

Aymen Tamer, chairman and managing partner of historic Saudi healthcare firm Tamer Group, outlines how, informed by Saudi’s Vision 2030, the company is adapting to better meet the needs of the rapidly evolving domestic pharma market. Tamer also touches on the challenges of succession planning, why a deep and long-term commitment to Saudi is the only guarantor of success in the country, and how greater representation of locals and women in the workforce has the potential to be truly transformational.

The days of picking low hanging fruit [in Saudi Arabia] are over; the only strategies that will be rewarded are those based on deep and long-term investment in local content

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Choong May Ling, Mimi – CEO, Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Singapore

Dr Choong May Ling, Mimi, CEO of Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA), one of the leading regulatory bodies in the Asia-Pacific region, outlines the impact of Singapore’s status as a life sciences hub, the launch of novel priority review avenues, and how the authority is adjusting to the new industry paradigm that data and AI is helping create.

Collaboration has always been critical, and our connectivity has enabled us to build strong partnerships to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes

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Mohamed Nasser – General Manager, Amgen Middle East & Africa

Amgen’s Middle East and Africa General Manager Mohamed Nasser discusses the company’s approach to the region; the opportunities in the Saudi market, given its improved regulatory environment; and the disadvantages of its reference pricing system. In addition, Nasser explains Amgen’s approach to Saudization and the company’s place within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

The biggest opportunity [in MEA] is to help accelerate the diagnosis and treatment of patients, too many of whom fall through the gaps of healthcare coverage expansion. The question remains how companies should approach this opportunity; I suggest choosing areas where one can have the deepest and fastest impact

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Cyril Titeux – Senior VP Mid-sized Markets EMEA & Strategic Leader, Janssen

Janssen’s Cyril Titeux highlights the commonalities and challenges within his 31-country portfolio, his hopes and expectations for the evolution of market access in the region, and some of the key industry trends emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

I foresee a renewed and increased focus on prevention [post-COVID], especially for future pandemics, and on building healthcare systems which are more resilient than efficient

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Andrew Frye – SVP & President, APAC, Baxter

Andrew Frye of medtech giant Baxter outlines his management strategy for the diverse APAC region, how growth was achieved in 2020 despite the drop in non-essential hospital visits and treatments that the COVID-19 pandemic brought about, and the increasing importance of homecare and telehealth post-pandemic.

Healthcare is becoming more like a consumer market, with more discerning patients/customers now expecting more from their interactions with doctors and their treatment experiences

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Zeina Sfeir Lahoud, GM, Biologix

Biologix is a Dubai-based firm that represents international pharma companies by bringing innovative drugs to market in the Middle East / North Africa (MENA) region. Its GM, Zeina Sfeir Lahoud, discusses the company’s presence in over 17 countries, their 25 years of experience in Saudi Arabia, and the dynamics shaping the largest market in the region, including the fast regulatory approval process in place. With value-based healthcare an increasingly hot topic, she explains how Biologix has moved to sign the first risk-sharing agreement with Saudi Arabia for a spinal muscular atrophy product; the first in the MENA region.

The opportunities [in Saudi Arabia] are heightened by the leadership in the country and its Vision 2030; it encourages investment and favours private partnership

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Jan van de Winkel – President & CEO, Genmab

Speaking exclusively to PharmaBoardroom, Jan van de Winkel highlights the tremendous progress that European biotech success story Genmab has made over the past six years, how its partnership model is evolving, Denmark’s continuing relevance to the company, and Genmab’s value proposition for the next generation of talent.

Genmab has strong, focused investment into its pipeline and capabilities and is now transitioning into a fully-integrated commercial company. We have made lots of progress, but this is only the beginning

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Jean-Christophe Hyvert – President Biologics and Cell & Gene, Lonza

Swiss-based Lonza has consolidated as a titan in the CDMO industry with annual revenues of around CHF 5.9bn for 2020. Its president for the Biologics and Cell & Gene divisions, Jean-Christophe Hyvert, comments on the restructuring of the company, why the divesture of the specialty ingredients division makes sense in today’s market, and the big opportunities for the two divisions under his command. In addition, Hyvert analyzes the structural shifts in the CDMO market, Lonza’s market-driven approach, and the future of Cell & Gene.

Lonza’s new structure allows us to work more closely with our customers. The CDMO landscape has been transformed in the last 5-10 years; cooperation and partnerships are critical to success. There is no golden formula and many different business models available but being able to understand and answer our customers’ needs is crucial

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Zafer Toksöz – Founder & President, Arven Pharmaceuticals

Arven Pharmaceuticals is the Turkish R&D-based company behind the first biosimilar drug developed and manufactured from cell to final product in the country, and the first patented and produced dry powder inhaler in Turkey. Its founder and president, Zafer Toksöz, explains the company’s pioneering journey and the circumstances that have led the company to transform into a CDMO, offering its unique biosimilars development and production expertise to the global industry.

Our advantage is due to unparalleled investment in biosimilar R&D and production; no other company in Turkey has invested as much as Arven

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Jean-Paul Clozel CEO, Idorsia

In an exclusive interview, Jean-Paul Clozel explains Idorsia’s unique value proposition as a biotech focused on small molecules, how agnosticism in terms of therapeutic areas leads to more innovative medical breakthroughs, and why scientific innovation continues to motivate him.

When you have started two companies, people think that you like risk. In fact, I hate risk and have tried to avoid it my entire life

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