Perspectives on confronting and embracing disruptions in healthcare

In November 2018, Takeda’s President & CEO, Christophe Weber, was a keynote speaker during the 36th Financial Times Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference in London, UK joined by around 300 attendees, including senior pharmaceutical executives, global media, healthcare providers and patient representatives. Below Christophe Weber shared his perspectives from the event:

View keynote speech video of Christophe Weber

“In the current climate, cutting-edge innovation and disruption are critical for Takeda’s success. It is for this reason I was honored to be the opening keynote speaker during this prestigious event, hosted by the Financial Times. I was especially interested in this event given its theme: “Embracing Disruption for a New Era in Health” as this is an important theme for Takeda, as it speaks to exactly what we are trying to achieve.

As CEO, I know embracing disruption is vital to remain relevant and create the breakthroughs that patients deserve. For me, I see two key disruptors: scientific innovation, which includes digital innovations, and system reforms to improve access to healthcare for those who need it most. Disruption can be challenging, however, I believe it should be seen as an opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to accelerate innovation and deliver innovative medicines to patients.

In 2014, I was appointed as the first foreign CEO at Takeda, which in itself was disruptive. My approach is ‘transforming without breaking’ to ensure we do not change Takeda’s rich culture and its well-established values which have been our compass, dictating the way we operate since the company was founded in 1781. Instead, I am here to continue to uphold the values of this company while bringing transformation to Takeda. One of the biggest disruptions I have introduced to date has been Takeda’s R&D transformation. We have reinforced our R&D engine – required by any pharmaceutical company to remain a global leader – by sharpening our R&D focus and turning our attention to highly innovative medicines in three therapeutic areas: oncology, gastroenterology and neuroscience – as well as vaccines.

We envisage that this focus will drive innovation and better serve our patients. A key step that we need to follow is improving access to medicines for patients, especially during the current period of global healthcare reforms. I believe there is a balance that needs to be met in achieving this – ensuring that we contribute to the right access to healthcare for patients, while making sure that our R&D investment is paid back. In this context, it is key that we create the perfect balance between access and price. 

As we continue to operate in an environment that continually innovates, the ability to stay one step ahead is critical to our success. By embarking on a transformational journey in our R&D offering, embracing the many disruptions we are facing today, and putting patients at the center of what we do, we are in a strong position to achieve this.