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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Point of View

Expansion into new product categories and geographic regions is a top strategic goal for biopharmaceutical firms, but one that is fraught with various risks. Many organisations aim to widen their portfolio into biologics, yet the scientific complexity and sophisticated requirements for this class of product are particularly challenging. With geographic expansion, businesses face significant obstacles when dealing with unfamiliar regulatory environments, shifts in pricing and customers’ ability to pay. To help manage these risks, companies are developing plans that include both building internal capabilities and relying on external expertise.

To understand the growth strategies and associated risk management plans for biopharma organisations in greater detail, a multinational survey of 254 pharmaceutical executives was conducted in March 2016. The results of this survey – which are summarised below – were published as an Economist Intelligence Unit report and sponsored by Merck (see full pdf). Half of the survey respondents are C-level or equivalent executives, while the remainder holds Senior Vice President, Vice President or Director positions. Their geographical locations are: 30% North American; 30% from across Europe; 30% from the Asia-Pacific region; and the remaining 10% from the rest of the world. Executives at companies of all sizes responded, with 50% coming from businesses with global revenues of $500m or less, 37% from organisations with $500 million to $5 billion in annual revenues and 13% whose annual global revenues exceed $5 billion.

Growth Strategies


Expansions into new products, new types of therapeutic categories and within existing and new geographic markets have been found to be the top strategic goals for most firms for the next five years, regardless of their size (see full pdf).

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Daniel Stamm is Head of Process Solutions, Commercial at Merck Life Science. He has more than 25 years of experience in international business and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Daniel started his career with Millipore Switzerland in 1988 and has held many positions within the organisation since then, including application sales support for the laboratory water, bioscience and biomonitoring businesses. He has a Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland and is also an active member of the Swiss Biotech Association.
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