“It is a real privilege to be able to work in the field of health care, because health is a need close to each of us. Thanks to innovation and science, we have the opportunity to influence people, their lives and health every day.” – Justin Gandy, the new managing director of MSD Polska, talks about the company’s priorities, innovations for Polish patients and clinical trials.
In May this year you took up a new position at MSD Polska. Previously, you were the director of the Oncology Department of MSD in the Netherlands. How will your previous experience influence MSD Polska’s priorities?
Firstly, I am very much looking forward to the exciting challenges of my role in Poland. I am happy, especially since I will have the opportunity to get to know this fascinating country better. Without a doubt, oncology is one of the priority areas for MSD Polska and for the entire MSD globally. We strive to better understand the characteristics of cancer, its cause and course, which allows us to offer patients treatment tailored to their individual conditions.
Effective cancer treatment is one of the most urgent health needs in the world, including in Poland. MSD conducts numerous research on products under development in new indications for which there are still unmet medical needs. So far, immunotherapy has revolutionized the approach to treatment, e.g. in melanoma or lung cancer, based on our therapies available to patients. I am even more happy that I will be able to use my experience in oncology on the Polish market.
Will the company’s priorities change?
Together with the team, we will focus on further development in our strategic business areas. Oncology remains a key area for us in terms of innovative therapies and strengthening access to treatment by improving the patient path, e.g. in lung cancer.
Vaccinations are also an extremely important area for MSDs as they prevent the development of many cancers. In this respect, Poland is at a particularly important moment, as the universal HPV vaccination program has just begun.
As I mentioned, it is particularly important for us to act in dialogue and build partnerships, engage in new projects to provide Polish patients with the widest possible access to modern therapies. We want to be an important and audible partner in initiating discussions and processes leading to change.
What does such cooperation involve?
The obvious stakeholder is the medical expert community and physicians. Today, however, we perceive our role in the transformation of the health care system much more broadly. For this purpose, we also build public-private partnerships. In July, we signed a framework agreement with the National Institute of Oncology. Maria Skłodowska-Curie – National Research Institute (NIO-PIB) in Warsaw. Its goal is to develop cooperation in the area of analyzes regarding the health care system and many important initiatives related to public health. This partnership is another example of MSD Polska’s involvement in cooperation with public institutions. In 2021, the company joined the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub – a platform of the Medical Research Agency for cooperation between economic, public and scientific entities.
It is important for us to constantly strengthen our contribution to innovation for Polish patients. This year, for the third time in a row, we received the status of a research and development center granted by the Minister of Development and Technology to innovative enterprises which, thanks to the research carried out in Poland, provide significant scientific and technical support for their industries and specializations.
You have been associated with MSD for over 10 years and have worked in various positions within the company’s structure in several markets. From your perspective, is Poland an important country for MSD?
Poland is a key country for MSD both in Europe and globally. This is obviously a large market due to population. It is crucial for MSD that there is an excellent team of experts in four strong departments. A good example of the level of expertise is the second largest global MSD Data Management Center operating in Warsaw. It is one of six such centers in the world where we analyze data from MSD clinical trials and monitor side effects from around the world. Another example is the modern Animal Health production plant near Poznań, which is responsible for 15%. world production of animal identification devices.
Poland is an extremely important market for us when it comes to clinical trials. We are one of the largest entities conducting clinical trials in Poland in cooperation with 490 research centers in the country. Thanks to our involvement in clinical trials in Poland, we are able to develop further breakthrough therapies that change patients’ lives. This is evidenced by the mentioned status of a research and development center granted by the Minister of Development and Technology. I would like to emphasize that tangible state support, such as tax relief related to the status of a research and development center, allows us to fulfill our mission and develop innovative therapies even more effectively through further investments and a stronger presence in Poland.
Our involvement on the Polish market affects society in many areas.
What are these areas?
We recently published a report in which we identified the main areas of our impact on the environment in Poland in 2022.
As a biopharmaceutical company, we have the greatest impact on the health and life of patients by offering innovative therapies and vaccinations. We also carry out educational activities aimed at patients, medical professionals and the general public. As a trusted partner in healthcare, we also place emphasis on ensuring continuity of therapy for patients through an uninterrupted supply chain, while increasing Poland’s drug safety.
Of course, we also influence our employees, of whom we employ over 600 in Poland. We build an inclusive work environment and we believe that only by investing in people and their development can we create a better future. MSD not only creates jobs in Poland for highly qualified staff and representatives of the local community, but also contributes to the increase in employment in the Polish economy. Thanks to our presence in Poland, over 11,000 jobs have been created throughout the economy. jobs.
When talking about employment growth, we cannot ignore our contribution to the Polish economy. MSD co-creates one of the most advanced sectors of the Polish economy and pays taxes in Poland that contribute to the state budget. Last year we spent PLN 156 million on clinical trials conducted in Poland alone.
Over the last 14 years, we have spent over PLN 900 million on research and development in Poland, which means that we are approaching this year to exceed PLN 1 billion over the last 15 years.
What inspires you about working in the pharmaceutical industry?
It is a real privilege to be able to work in the field of healthcare, because health is a need close to each of us. Thanks to innovation and science, we have the opportunity to influence people, their lives and health every day.
managing director of MSD Polska. He has several years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. He has been associated with MSD for over a decade, working in the areas of management, marketing and sales. He started his career at MSD in South Africa as a Brand Manager in the area of HIV and HCV, then he held positions including: Director of Vaccines and Business Development for Sub-Saharan Africa and Director of the English and Portuguese-speaking African Countries division. From 2019 to the present, he has been the director of the Oncology Department at MSD in the Netherlands.