“Our goal is to actually change patients’ lives for the better, achieved in a high culture of cooperation and continuous development. Over these three decades, we have focused on innovative therapies in oncology, rare diseases and neurology. We constantly strive to extend life and improve the quality of health of our patients.” – interview with Ioana Parsons, CEO of Ipsen Poland.
This year Ipsen celebrates its 30th anniversary. How would you like to sum up this time?
This year we are celebrating an important anniversary, which is an important event for all employees of our company. The Polish team implements the company’s mission and vision, always putting patients at the center of its activities. Our goal is to actually change patients’ lives for the better, achieved in a high culture of cooperation and continuous development. Over these three decades, we have focused on innovative therapies in oncology, rare diseases and neurology. We constantly strive to extend the life and improve the quality of health of our patients. We are very proud of our activities and the unique solutions we offer as a partner of the health care system and a preferred employer. We combine the flexibility and speed of operation of a biotechnology company with the 90-year heritage of Ipsen. I am honored to celebrate this anniversary by managing the Polish branch of the company.
Ipsen is a global biotechnology company with an established position in the world. In what areas does the company particularly care about development and innovation?
We specialize in finding new therapeutic solutions for life-threatening diseases. In oncology, we focus on the treatment of solid tumors (such as renal cell carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, neuroendocrine tumors, pancreatic cancer and thyroid cancer), while expanding the scope of activities in the search for therapeutic solutions in the area of hemato-oncology. For rare diseases, such as acromegaly or congenital IGF-1 deficiency, we have several products. It is worth emphasizing, however, that new drug registrations for rare diseases for which there is currently no therapeutic option are in progress. In the field of neurology, our activities are directed towards patients with spasticity, who are underdiagnosed and undertreated in Europe, especially in Poland.
Collaboration with biotechnology and academic institutions continues to drive us to work. We encourage open innovation through trusted partnerships with biotechnology and academic institutions. Our work plan includes the development of innovative new molecules and new indications, as well as continued effective lifecycle management of our well-established products.
What is the specific nature of the work of a biotechnology company in Poland?
Poland is a very important country due to the great needs to improve the lives of patients struggling with threatening diseases. We are also aware that Poland is an attractive investment destination for the biopharmaceutical industry. This is mainly due to having highly qualified staff and the potential to conduct R&D activities.
We strive to make our company both a Talent and Innovation Center, providing valuable solutions for Polish patients and the Polish healthcare system. Being a Talent Hub means using the full potential of Ipsen employees and supporting them in continuous development. Innovation Hub is the pilot and implementation of programs and partnerships in the search for new solutions that respond to the unmet needs of patients in cooperation with stakeholders of the Polish health care system – government institutions, scientific societies, patient organizations and other entities. We are still working on education and research activities and raising awareness of diseases and therapeutic methods for Polish patients.
I very much appreciate the involvement of the Polish branch in implementing our mission. Ipsen Poland is a group of passionate people who have the patient’s health and safety as their main goal. We cooperate closely with other group companies outside Poland. We are a strong interdisciplinary team that shares common priorities. We are motivated by the desire to cooperate and improve for the good of patients and society. For the second year in a row, we received the Great Place to Work certificate. Recertification confirms Ipsen’s ongoing commitment to creating exceptional employee experiences through our culture of collaboration and improvement.
What initiatives were undertaken and implemented in the last year?
In January this year, we became a partner of the Warsaw Health Innovation Hub, operating at the Medical Research Agency. Through this initiative, we are even more motivated to develop innovative healthcare solutions that will help improve the quality of life of patients in neurology. I believe that effective cooperation between the public and private sectors can contribute to developing optimal solutions in the area of patient care and increasing the efficiency of the Polish health care system.
In March, with a focus on growth, Ipsen purchased Albireo Pharma, a leading innovator in the field of bile acid modulators for the treatment of rare liver diseases. This acquisition adds promising medicines to Ipsen’s rare disease portfolio for children and adults with liver disease. Through Ipsen’s global and local operations, together we can realize the full potential of approved medicines for patients around the world.
In April this year, you were elected on behalf of Ipsen Poland to the Council of the French-Polish Chamber of Commerce (CCIFP) in the medium-sized enterprise category, for a new three-year term. This is a prestigious distinction. The CCIFP Council is one of the most important bodies of the Chamber, and Ipsen Poland has its representative there for the first time. What does this new role mean for you?
This is a great honor for me, but also an obligation resulting from the trust shown in me. The French-Polish Chamber of Commerce brings together almost 400 French and Polish companies, being one of the most active bilateral chambers in Poland. I enjoy working in an international environment and taking responsibility for strengthening cooperation between Poland and France. CCIFP makes a significant contribution to the development of investment activities in Poland and plays an active role in contacts with public administration and employers’ organizations. For me personally, it is also an excellent platform for exchanging experiences and best business practices, and Ipsen, as a company operating in health care, brings added value in the area of pharmacy and innovation.
As the sole representative of the life sciences sector, I also hope to co-create a platform for French companies to develop their healthcare agenda at local and European level. This may mean advocating for improved access to new medicines for Polish patients, for the continuous evolution of the legislative framework for innovative solutions other than medicines, and for a strong Polish voice in the reform of European pharmaceutical law.
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Interviewed by MAREK LUSTER
– CEO of Ipsen Poland since June 2021. She has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for over 15 years. As a former consultant at McKinsey in London, she led large-scale commercial strategy and transformation projects for numerous global pharmaceutical clients. Prior to joining Ipsen, she was employed at Amgen, where she worked for five years in local, regional and global positions, most recently as Director of Oncology Business in Italy, while also serving as Global Commercial Capabilities Director. She graduated from the Academy of Economic Sciences in Bucharest with a degree in economics and international business, and an MBA from the London Business School.