‘The digital revolution is going to change profoundly the way medicine is practised’
Audrey Derveloy, newly appointed country president of Novartis Ireland, talks about her ambitions for the pharmaceutical firm
Novartis Ireland country president Audrey Derveloy.
Audrey Derveloy recently joined Novartis Ireland in the role of CPO head and country president. Derveloy comes from Novartis France, where she was most recently franchise head for ophthalmology. A physician by training, following her time as a registrar in Paris, she worked as a scientific expert in Hong Kong before entering the pharmaceutical industry
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Born and brought up in France, married, I am a mother of two children, Olympe and James. A medical doctor by training, I was inspired by learning in Paris with internationally renowned health professionals. A family project led me to work also in Asia, where I lived for three years in Hong Kong. In 2013, I joined Novartis, in particular for the richness of its portfolio and its focus on innovative medicines.
In early January, I was appointed general manager of Novartis Pharma and country president and was delighted to move with my family to Dublin.
What are your initial thoughts regarding Irish healthcare – are there obvious advantages and disadvantages?
Globally, our industry and our customers [governments and healthcare systems] face unprecedented challenges – not just sustainability, but aging demographics. Ireland faces the same challenges but has a great advantage due to its unique ecosystem of having so many healthcare and technology companies co-located here. Ireland can be at the forefront of addressing the sustainability challenge with structural reforms, using digital technologies to manage patients in their community, rather than in hospital.
We need to work together to find creative, sustainable ways to fund innovative new medicines, eg payment based on health outcomes, or mechanisms to distribute the cost of a one-time gene therapy treatment across a number of years, so that people in Ireland can have access to new medicines, in line with patients in other European countries.
Focusing on health outcomes is attractive for governments and health services – in other words, taxpayers should only pay for what ‘works’.
What do you hope to achieve as you begin your work here?
Ultimately, my objective is to build trust internally at Novartis, and externally. Internally, I want to create the best work environment so that people can fulfil their professional ambitions with a clear purpose. Externally, I hope to establish myself as a leader in order to help the organisation to deliver to the Irish patients our innovative medicines as fast as possible and provide to patients and caregivers the best health services. We need to deliver our commitments to the society in the right way with the highest levels of integrity.
What emerging trends in pharma are you excited by?
I am particularly excited by the impact that we can create around us. By reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. We can use innovative science and new digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of medical need. New biotherapeutics have been launched already, and the digital revolution is going to change profoundly the way medicine is practised. Developers of these IT solutions often collaborate with pharmaceutical companies to complement their respective expertise. For example, Novartis is collaborating with Microsoft in artificial intelligence to accelerate the discovery and development of medicines for patients. In this collaboration, there will be co-working environments in Novartis in Switzerland, but also at the Novartis Global Service Centre in Dublin.
Novartis is committed to finding innovative ways to expand access to the latest treatments such as gene and cell therapies. Cell and gene therapies could help reduce or eliminate the need for treatments that need to be taken continuously, often for life.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from your many years in the healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry?
As I am a medical doctor by training, I know my passion for healthcare has provided me a pretty strong sense of purpose, and a desire to dramatically improve human health. I found that reflecting on our purpose served as a guidepost for making hard decisions. I have been thinking about the healthcare ecosystem. How do we build sustainable solutions for policymakers so that we build a sustainable environment for access to medical innovation? I have learnt to develop more external activities to give back to society by having a stronger role in terms of how we act from an access standpoint and how we engage with patients and physicians, how we tackle major health challenges.
Novartis’ mission is to reimagine medicine to improve and extend people’s lives, using innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. Unsurprisingly, Novartis ranks among the world’s top companies investing in research and development, which currently accounts for 17 per cent of the organisation’s net sales. More than 100,000 people work at Novartis around the world, including more than 1,200 in Ireland across its commercial operations in Dublin and its manufacturing site in Cork.
Incorporating Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Oncology, the Innovative Medicines Division strives to create innovative, patented medicines to enhance health outcomes for patients in Ireland.
Health systems around the world, as well as in Ireland, are under pressure from the twin challenges of an aging population and the management of chronic disease. Novartis’ aim is to increase sustainability and value through its range of medicines. It is also providing healthcare solutions “beyond the pill”, such as new technologies, innovative devices, and patient-centric services – for example, the organisation recently launched the Innovation Prize for Assistive Tech to encourage new technologies that will address the unmet needs of the multiple sclerosis community
Novartis is also seeking to “reimagine” medicine with “one-time” – potentially curative – cell and gene therapies for patients with serious, rare and life-threatening diseases. These therapies could help reduce or eliminate the need for treatments that need to be taken continuously, often for life.
Novartis Global Service Centre
The Novartis Global Service Centre (NGSC) in Dublin was established in 2013 and is located in a state-of-the-art facility in Elm Park on the Merrion Rod in Dublin 4. The centre, one of five around the world, delivers a broad variety of services to the Novartis divisions and organisations globally – these include scientific and commercial services, IT, HR services and procurement. NGSC Dublin has a deep talent pool driving innovation, standardisation and world-class service delivery. There are currently more than 600 associates employed at the site, including 38 nationalities speaking 29 languages.
AveXis, a Novartis company, is the world’s leading gene therapy company, redefining the possibilities for patients and families affected by life-threatening genetic diseases through our innovative gene therapy platform. AveXis has located its European quality, distribution and logistics in North Dublin.
Novartis Ringaskiddy campus is home to two Novartis organisations. Approximately 550 people are employed across both organizations (NRL & NIS) at the Ringaskiddy campus. Operational since 1994, NRL (Novartis Ringaskiddy Limited) manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients for a range of oncology, respiratory cardiovascular, dermatology, central nervous systems and transplantation medicines. The facility includes manufacturing operations, quality control laboratories, warehouse, technical, IT, engineering etc. NIS (Novartis Integrated Services) is a global centre providing integrated supply services for Novartis through a number of professional service functions.
Find out more at novartis.ie