Interview: Francesco Scopesi – VP & General Manager, Shire Italy

SHIRE_scopesiShire Italy's Francesco Scopesi discusses innovative medicine, rare diseases, growth drivers, global strategy, and the new trend of home care. Shire is today one of the leading biotechs delivering innovative medicines to patients with rare diseases and other specialty conditions. Could you please start by describing the company’s engagement with the Italian market and the main milestones attained since your appointment as general manager in 2007? Shire has been present on the Italian market since 2000 and the company has been strengthening its footprint ever since. Prior to my appointment as General Manager, I was actually the Area Manager of TKT, which is one of a number of specialty companies that Shire acquired. 2014 was an especially important year for the company because that was the moment when we relocated from Genoa and Florence, consolidating our in-country operations and directing everything from new flagship offices in Milan. This is when we transitioned beyond merely a ‘start-up’ structure to possessing full capabilities on the ground such as in-house legal and market access units. [Featured_in] During my stewardship of the Italian operations, we have enjoyed a fair degree of success with a variety of new products being launched on the market and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 percent. Out intent is not to let up, but to continue to push the boundaries and seek out new growth opportunities, building upon the momentum that we have generated to date. Shire’s portfolio today spans a wide range of therapeutic areas including lysosomal storage disorders, hereditary angioedema, endocrinology, hematology, nephrology, and gastroenterology. Which areas in that portfolio do you see as the biggest growth drivers? We possess particular expertise and a formidable track record in developing therapies for treating lysosomal storage disorders such as Gaucher and Fabry disease and also in the area of hereditary angioedema, so these will continue to be major growth drivers of our business. We also maintain a business unit dedicated to specialty diseases in endocrinology and nephrology. Shire’s global strategy, however, as we position ourselves as the world’s leading biotech company focused on rare diseases, is to move away from a portfolio aligned to specific therapeutic areas and instead to target any condition with rare disease characteristics where patient needs remain unmet. This is the approach that will guide our future portfolio development. Shire has expanded globally through a series of strategic acquisitions. In January, the company made its most significant purchase yet, with the USD 32 billion acquisition of Baxalta, a leading company in hematology with a strong presence also in immunology and oncology, creating the largest global biotech company focused solely on rare diseases. How have these developments been trickling down to the local level? The announcement of the Baxalta acquisition is an important milestone for Shire. Naturally we are all excited about it. Our global CEO, Dr. Flemming Ornskov, has set an ambitious target of driving up revenue to more than USD 20 billion by 2020 and the integration of Baxalta will ensure we realize this objective. Shire is the sort of company that is always ready to seize the moment and has a long history of making high-profile acquisitions. Our versatility and willingness to be bold is very much part of our corporate ethos and is something that all of our workforce buy into. We are one of the more fast changing and dynamic companies out there, in a positive sense and that’s something that can take a little bit of getting accustomed to as a new employee, but it’s also something that you grow to love. Being part of a company like ours is energizing - you never have a flat day. The Baxalta combination will trickle down to the local country level in time and there will, no doubt, be organizational changes to implement. My responsibility, however, is to ensure that we maintain a cohesive strategy at country level where our energies and focus remain firmly channeled towards carrying out our core functions and fulfilling (and even surpassing our targets). In short, we won't be taking our eyes off the ball or allowing any sort of mission drift. We need to remain responsive to patient needs and that remains our focus.
When there is a pronounced medical need that is recognized, the Italian system is capable of delivering.
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