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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Providing Solutions

Shayesteh Fürst-Ladani talks to EBR about her future goals, advice for aspiring entrepreneurs and what the pharma industry needs to focus on

EBR: What attracted you to the pharmaceutical industry?

Shayesteh Fürst-Ladani: The fact that it is a sector that is very dynamic and thrives on advances in science and medicine. It has been fascinating to experience the incredibly fast development in natural sciences over the last 20-30 years that has led to new drugs to address unmet medical needs.

What qualities do you need to be a leader?

While there is no magic formula, there are certain factors which I consider central to our company philosophy and success. From the outset, I felt it was essential to build a winning and motivated team that would grow with the company, and that is still something I strongly believe in. In practice, this means strengthening the sense of ownership and independency for each team member, regardless of hierarchical setting. Leaders also have to be analytical in identifying upcoming trends and challenges, as well as defining measures for how best to prepare for them. As I mentioned before, we work in a dynamic industry, and so you must be fl exible to address changes that could not have been foreseen. SFL has a range of clients.

What is the secret to your success?

At SFL we look to foster partnerships with clients and aim for long-term relationships. Financial interest is never the primary motivation. The highest priority for the team is providing solutions for each of our partners and clients. We do not differentiate in our services between small and big clients – each client receives a premium service. It is important to be seen as reliable and focused on delivering the highest quality possible. Our growth and expanding client base shows that companies recognise and value the approach that we have to business.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

It is important for entrepreneurs to plan ahead, as they will be seeking to break new ground. The key is having a clear vision and understanding of your products and services, the client needs you would like to satisfy, and how you differentiate yourself from your competitors. These points are equally important, whether you are trying to launch a business after fi nishing education, or thinking about self-employment after a successful industry career. Especially in the latter case, it might be diffi cult coping with the sudden loss of convenient support functions and the difference of talking peer-to-peer with colleagues in other companies versus contacting them to discuss your own business.

What are your goals for the coming year?

SFL’s strength is our understanding of the interconnectedness of the different stages and functions in the lifecycle of a product. Clients value our multidisciplinary approach. To keep in line with current developments in the industry, and at the request of clients, we have decided to expand into new specialist areas such as health technology assessment. To make these decisions with the best possible preparation, we have recently constituted an advisory board. Its members combine a broad range of different expertise to provide, on one hand, strategic advice and recommendations on the long-term development of SFL and its service offers. On the other, hand we support clients in their strategic decisions in the light of their in-depth knowledge of policy, regulatory and scientifi c developments, legal standards and company infrastructures.

What will be the big trends in pharma over the next few years?

There is no shortage of exciting developments for the pharmaceutical industry. Areas of importance that I can see include: personalised medicine; e-Health; increased data transparency; and patient/academia involvement. Other trends include: developing home use products to differentiate from competitors; new strategies to extend product lifecycles; and further measures to control healthcare budgets. Additionally, there has been increasing interest from Big Pharma companies to invest in orphan drug development.

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Shayesteh Fürst-Ladani is the Managing Director and founder of SFL Regulatory Affairs & Scientific Communication Ltd (SFL). Shayesteh gained her MSc in Microbiology from the University of Vienna, and an MBA from the Open University Business School.
Shayesteh Fürst-Ladani
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