Interview: José Manuel Caamaño – General Manager, Takeda Mexico

takedaTakeda Mexico’s José Manuel Caamaño  discusses Takeda’s impressive growth prospects in Mexico, patient-centricity, the reopening of their cutting-edge manufacturing plant in Naucalpan, and his vision to transform Takeda into one of the most prominent pharmaceutical companies in Mexico, with a strengthened focus on GI and oncology.

Christophe Weber, Takeda’s CEO, described the Financial Year 2015 as “a turnaround year for Takeda”, with global revenues increasing by 3.4 percent. In the meantime, Takeda Mexico seems to hold evermore promising growth prospective, as in April 2016, you revealed your ambition to grow Takeda’s business in Mexico by seven percent annually over the next five years, while the Mexican market is only set to grow 4.6 percent per annum. Why are you confident to achieve such results?

As our CEO Christophe Weber always emphasizes, Takeda’s first priority is the patient, then having a positive impact on the society, and thirdly our company’s reputation

As part of our company’s Vision 2025, our fundamental vision is to fulfill this growth target by adopting a patient-centric strategy, while we continue to strongly invest in Research and Development to tackle unmet medical needs. As our CEO Christophe Weber always emphasizes, Takeda’s first priority is the patient, then having a positive impact on the society, and thirdly our company’s reputation. Business results are also a priority – but they emerge from these three first priorities automatically. We started to adopt this line of thinking over a year and half ago, and we are very glad to see that 98 percent of our employees and collaborators in Mexico now deeply believe that patients must be at the core of our strategic approach to save lives. This figure is one of the highest percentages displayed among all Takeda’s affiliates, and demonstrates Takeda Mexico’s ability to build a purpose-driven affiliate that provides on a daily basis life-changing medicines to more than 4.5 million patients in the country.

Furthermore, Takeda is currently concentrating its efforts on two specific therapeutic areas: Gi, OTC, diabetic, cardiology and oncology, in which we will soon bring new life-changing treatments to the Mexican market. In these two specialties still lie very dramatic unmet medical needs where our patient-centric approach takes a heightened importance and can truly make a difference.

In Mexico, our global ambition to integrate the top 10 leaves us with no choice but to grow faster than the domestic pharmaceutical market. Although the overall pharmaceutical market in Mexico is set to grow 4.6 percent year-over-year; this growth rate is currently sustained by the country’s return to robust economic growth and the all-time high of employment rate, which truly showcase the attractiveness and the strength of the private sector of the Mexican economy. The thriving private sector also offsets the slower growth of the institutional market; whose increase should be around two percent, mostly because of the recent government adjustment in the health budget. Leveraging the strong performance of the private sector, we then want to position ourselves as one of the most prominent pharmaceutical companies in the Mexican market, which –once again – goes beyond our sales performance. As a matter of fact, in 2015, Takeda Mexico was ranked 55th in the Top 100 “Great Places to Work’ in Mexico and recognized as a Top Employer in the country as well, providing our employees with the best working eco-system possible, which is also one of our fundamental objectives to propel the development of the affiliate: employees who are proud to belong to Takeda.

How is this patient-centric approach translated in terms of added value for the Mexican patients and physicians?

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With more than 12 million diabetic patients in the country in 2015, diabetes clearly stands as a dramatic disease in Mexico. After an extensive review of all the data available on diabetic patients, Takeda Mexico found that fifty percent of them were also suffering from hypertension, while one out of three were also affected by hyperglycemia. As a result, we then decided to build and offer a new and comprehensive package of treatments for diabetic patients, targeting diabetes, hypertension, and hyperglycemia. We can now provide the physicians and the patients with a treatment that is not only focused on diabetes, but that also holistically address all other diabetes-related glucose complications affecting patients. This is only one example among many others that demonstrate how our operations are not focused on the products, but on the needs of Mexican patients. We however don’t rest on our laurels: in an enduring effort to offer new comprehensive and life-changing treatments, we are currently reviewing all our data and insights from physicians and patients to provide them with a better support for the treatment of cardio metabolic diseases.

In gastroenterology, we are market leader in Mexico, with a very strong leadership in anti-acid and acid-reflux diseases. Furthermore, thanks to an important upcoming product launch, we are confident we can strengthen this leadership position in the future. Nevertheless, despite our market leader position, we continue to implement this patient-centric approach in the development of our growth strategy. Beside gastroenterology products, we can for instance rely on the depth of our product portfolio, including treatments related to gastroprokinetics and irritable bowel disease (IBD), to provide Mexican physicians with holistic solutions to treat gastro patients.

As oncology is now a strategic therapeutic area for Takeda, how do you plan to implement this patient-centric approach in Mexico?

In oncology we are the “new kid of the block” in Mexico. Two years ago, we launched a first product for osteosarcoma (bone cancer), recently followed another for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (sALCL). As a first step, we have thus been working in close collaboration with the physicians, who operate as our business partners to reach out to the patient organizations.

To accompany this patient-centric endeavor, we also completely restructured our oncology unit. Hiring other oncology experts and leaders to complement our in-house expertise, we hold now a strong oncology area where all our experts and employees in this field can work in a closer collaboration to drive Takeda to new heights. Oncology is one of our pillar to build the bright future of the organization, and we are taking drastic steps to reach our objectives and provide Mexican patients with better health.

In terms of access to innovation, we see that a remaining bottleneck is still located at the social security level, which hinders the registration of innovative treatments in public health institutions. What is Takeda’s position in this regard?

On this side, Takeda will follow AMIIF’s leadership – the industry association gathering 40 pharma innovators in Mexico. We hope the industry and the social security institutes will be able to find the best way to operate having always in mind the patients. In 2015, AMIIF and IMSS were able to find a very positive agreement regarding the ownership rights for from clinical trials data conducted through the social security’s network – and I hope we will be able to reach an agreement of similar quality for innovation access.

Takeda’s fundamental objective is to bring innovative treatments to the Mexican market, and we then strive to operate as a true partner of the government in its endeavor to ultimately bring these treatments to the Mexican physicians and their patients through the different social security institutes.

In April 2016, Takeda reopened its manufacturing plant in Naucalpan, after an investment of 150 million pesos. What key rationales have counted toward the decision to further invest in Mexico and deepen the manufacturing commitment of Takeda in the country?

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Mexico continues to display robust growth rates, both with regards to the country’s overall economy, its domestic pharmaceutical market, and pharmaceutical exports. The reopening of this facility clearly marks the beginning of a new era for Takeda in Mexico, while this plant complies with the highest manufacturing standards in the world. Geographically, Mexico definitely stands as a gateway to Latin America, while our proximity with the United States also undoubtedly counted toward this decision. While 30 percent of our production is already exported to 16 different Central and South American countries, our plant has been conceived to be ready to meet FDA requirements, which will provide us with the future opportunity to start exporting to the US and Canada.

Finally, the way we operated during the six-month period of the construction also demonstrates why Takeda has been repeatedly ranked as one of the best employers in the country, as we used this time to intensively train our employees and ensure they will be perfectly ready to operate this new facility’s processes. Although we are also hiring new talents to fulfill our ambition to integrate the top 10 in Mexico, we however want to build up the engagement and sense of pride of the people who have been contributing to the success of this affiliate over the past years.

For a patient-centric company, quality -whether it is related to our processes or to our treatments- is absolutely paramount. That’s why we both invest to bring new talents within our company’s walls and we continue to polish and sharpen the skills of our current employees. Furthermore, when we decided to upgrade our manufacturing facility, we didn’t settle with a partial refurbishment: we completely destroyed the existing one, and built a new, cutting-edge manufacturing facility that can comply with the growth ambition of the Mexican affiliate.

You have been particularly successful since you joined Takeda in January 2011. What is the next achievement you want to accomplish with the company?

Takeda’s core values -Takeda-ism based on Integrity- truly gives me the feeling of belonging to a purpose-driven organization. It is true that every company has its own core values, but what really makes a difference is how you bring them to life in your daily operations. We still see that many Mexican patients need to access our innovation, and we want the Mexican affiliate to be among the first Takeda affiliates worldwide to bring its innovations to our domestic market.

Undoubtedly, many exciting developments will occur in the upcoming years, Takeda in Mexico clearly holds a bright future and I am convinced that Takeda will very soon become among the most important players in the country. In the meantime we will also remain focused on the fundamental goals that truly render our company unique: providing our employees with one of the best working environments in the country and always placing the patients at the center of our health approach. At Takeda, we are proud to change lives, and this will remain our main driver for the upcoming years.


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