Interview with Anthony Ford-Hutchinson
Q: More and more attention has been drawn to individualized medicine. How quickly will the pharmaceutical industry transform from the current blockbuster model to an approach that accommodates needs of individual patients?
A: The progress of changes depends on the therapeutic area. The transformation is already happening in the area of oncology. It is clear that the response to targeted oncology agents is driven by the genetic make up of the tumor. When this is taken into account, clinical trials, for instance, will move forward more smoothly, yielding better results. This change surely is a win-win situation that benefits both the pharmaceutical company and the patients.
Q: In addition to recruiting top research talents, what other factors are important for a company to maintain its status as the industry leader or become one?
A: To remain competitive, we should focus on key areas with a strategic vision. In addition it is key to execute on this strategy in the most efficient, speedy and cost effective way.
Q: The ratio of minority/foreign employees increases with time. As one of the leaders of a top pharma, how do you prepare to adjust to this demographic change of the work force?
A: One thing we can do is to make sure that minority workers are not discriminated against. For example, some foreign-born employees might hit the glass ceiling early in their career development because of language barriers. We can help their advancement by offering linguistic training. On the other hand, although some Mandarin speakers have difficulties to communicate effectively in English, their linguistic and cultural background can help the company to further expand business in China.