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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Sustainable Solutions

EBR: Sobi has been involved in this field for more than three decades. Can you describe some of the greatest changes the company has seen during that time, both in the industry generally and your specific area of expertise?

Hege Hellström and Neil Dugdale: Our company has grown over the past 30 years from a Nordic-focused organisation to one with a presence in the rest of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, but we have always remained patient-focused. One of the greatest changes Sobi has seen in the rare disease space during this time was the introduction of the European orphan drug legislation in 1999, encouraging pharmaceutical companies to focus on rare diseases, which, in turn, has led to more treatments for patients.

Rare diseases are often neglected because the drugs manufactured are intended for a small number of patients suffering from rare conditions and, as such, do not generate much financial benefit. Would you say that more incentives are needed to encourage pharma firms to develop treatments for these kinds of patients?

Sobi feels it is important that rare disease companies bring treatments to market as early as possible to give patients the best chance. We therefore welcome early collaborative dialogue with all stakeholders, including payers and governing bodies, to ensure that innovative products are brought to market in a sustainable way.

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Hege Hellström has been working at Sobi since 2013 as the President for the Europe, Middle East and North Africa region. She has over 25 years’ experience in various national and international sales, marketing and leadership positions in several therapeutic areas including diagnostics, nephrology, endocrinology, gastrointestinal, rare diseases and haemophilia.

Neil Dugdale is General Manager for the UK and Ireland at Sobi since 2015, but started his career at Merck in 1994 as a Sales Representative and, after working in a number of commercial roles, became Business Unit Director in 2003. Following Merck’s acquisition of Serono, Neil set up his own consultancy in 2007, working with a number of pharma clients including Eisai and Merck Serono. He re-joined the latter in 2013 as an Interim Consultant and then became permanent Oncology Director.

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Hege Hellström
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Neil Dugdale
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