Se­nior John­son & John­son exc­u­tive talks about the group’s strat­egy in China and the rest of the world

Se­nior John­son & John­son exc­u­tive, who once dreamed of be­ing a ten­nis star, talks about the group’s strat­egy for con­tin­ued suc­cess in China and the rest of the world

China Daily European Weekly - - News Digest - By ZHONG NAN zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

As a child, Joaquin Du­ato had dreams of play­ing ten­nis for Spain.

At 55, he is now the ex­ec­u­tive vicepres­i­dent and world­wide chair­man of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals at blue chip brand John­son & John­son.

“I’m an avid ten­nis player and as a child I used to dream of one day rep­re­sent­ing Spain,” he says dur­ing a visit to Bei­jing.

In­stead, he has rep­re­sented the global health­care gi­ant for the past 28 years and helped shape the multi­na­tional’s strat­egy in China and across the world.

“The health­care and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­tries have de­vel­oped no­tably in China dur­ing the past three decades,” Du­ato says. “Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are get­ting medicines to pa­tients faster than they were be­fore.”

Moves by the China Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion to stream­line the ap­proval of new medicines have opened up the in­dus­try, along with up­dat­ing the Na­tional Re­im­burse­ment Drug List.

Last month, the John­son & John­son sub­sidiary, Xi’an Janssen Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Ltd, was granted ap­proval from the CFDA for its Im­bru­vica cap­sules, which are used to treat adult pa­tients with chronic lym­pho­cytic leukemia and man­tle cell lym­phoma.

“These fac­tors have im­proved the sit­u­a­tion in China for in­no­va­tion-based phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies,” Du­ato adds.

With more than 125,000 staff in nearly 60 coun­tries and re­gions, John­son & John­son sells its such as con­sumer and health­care prod­ucts, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and medical de­vices, in about 200 na­tions and re­gions.

Nat­u­rally, China has be­come “vi­tally” im­por­tant to the United States-based group.

In an in­ter­view with China Daily, Du­ato talks about the com­pany’s vi­sion, its strat­egy in China, and his love of ten­nis and gi­ant pan­das.

What are John­son & John­son’s plans in China for the next five years?

China is vi­tally im­por­tant to us glob­ally and we re­main com­mit­ted to in­vest­ing in China, and mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth.

Since es­tab­lish­ing op­er­a­tions here in 1985, we have ex­panded our pres­ence sig­nif­i­cantly and to­day em­ploy more than 2,500 peo­ple in our Bei­jing head­quar­ters, our state-of-the-art man­u­fac­tur­ing site in Xi’an and our re­search and de­vel­op­ment op­er­a­tions. These in­clude the ground­break­ing R&D cen­ter in Shang­hai and the John­son & John­son In­no­va­tion Cen­ter.

Fol­low­ing an in­vest­ment of $290 mil­lion, our new sup­ply chain hub for in­no­va­tion in Asia is sched­uled to open in Xi’an (in Shaanxi prov­ince) in 2019. The ob­jec­tive is to serve the rapidly ex­pand­ing needs of China and other mar­kets in the re­gion. The plant is ex­pected to set a new stan­dard in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing here.

At full ca­pac­ity, the plant is ex­pected to pro­duce 400 mil­lion tablets, cap­sules, creams, sup­pos­i­to­ries and pow­ders a year.

What are your priorities in the coun­try? Glob­ally and in China, our strat­egy is to fo­cus on dis­cov­er­ing and de­vel­op­ing trans­for­ma­tional medical in­no­va­tions for pa­tients in six high pri­or­ity dis­ease ar­eas, which ad­dress ma­jor un­met treat­ment needs.

These in­clude on­col­ogy, im­munol­ogy, neu­ro­science, in­fec­tious dis­eases, car­dio­vas­cu­lar and pul­monary hyper­ten­sion.

We will (also) con­tinue to sup­port China’s as­pi­ra­tion to be­come a lead­ing global phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­no­va­tor through for­ward-look­ing in­vest­ments. This will en­able the dis­cov­ery of game-chang­ing ther­a­pies which ad­dress un­met medical needs.

What busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties will emerge through the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive?

Xi’an Janssen was, and will con­tinue to be, a fore­run­ner in es­tab­lish­ing joint ven­tures with lo­cal part­ners in China. We es­tab­lished our op­er­a­tions in Shaanxi prov­ince in 1985, a crit­i­cal area of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

We also at­tribute these joint-ven­ture part­ner­ships and our con­tin­ued in­vest­ment in Xi’an as crit­i­cal fac­tors to our suc­cess in China. We will con­tinue this model (in the fu­ture).

What is your big­gest achieve­ment here? I am proud of guid­ing the busi­ness to­ward a greater fo­cus on trans­for­ma­tional medical in­no­va­tions for pa­tients.

Zytiga, a new kind of treat­ment for men with (a type of) prostate can­cer, is a great ex­am­ple of cut­ting-edge science and true medical in­no­va­tion that sig­nif­i­cantly pro­longs lives.

How will you com­pete with com­peti­tors across the world and in China?

In 2011, we made the de­ci­sion to fo­cus our busi­ness on iden­ti­fy­ing and bring­ing trans­for­ma­tional medical in­no­va­tion. We are an in­no­va­tion-based com­pany which glob­ally spends 50 per­cent more on re­search and de­vel­op­ment than on sales and mar­ket­ing.

With a grow­ing core busi­ness of medicines and a strong lineup of in­no­va­tive prod­ucts ex­pected to launch or file dur­ing the next five years, we are lead­ing the in­dus­try in ad­vanc­ing the health of pa­tients around the world.

With our proven global com­mer­cial ca­pa­bil­i­ties, we are well-po­si­tioned to con­tinue de­liv­er­ing strong, long-term, sus­tain­able growth.

How does dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy af­fect your busi­ness?

Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is im­por­tant in dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment be­cause we use in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy to screen tar­gets and to model our clin­i­cal trial de­signs.

It is crit­i­cal in man­u­fac­tur­ing as we use ma­chine learn­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, or AI, to iden­tify ar­eas in which we can elim­i­nate waste and es­tab­lish bet­ter qual­ity con­trol mea­sures.

We now have ac­cess to vast amounts of data about how our medicines are used by physi­cians and pa­tients once they are on the mar­ket. So this helps us bet­ter un­der­stand the risk-ben­e­fit ra­tio.

What makes an ef­fec­tive leader of a ma­jor multi­na­tional com­pany?

I am proud to have worked at John­son & John­son for more than 28 years. I have had a var­ied ca­reer in dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the health­care in­dus­try, and in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and re­gions around the world. This has helped me con­tinue to evolve and adapt my lead­er­ship style.

For the first half of my ca­reer, I was based in Europe and I was suc­cess­ful by us­ing a di­rect, straight­for­ward lead­er­ship style. But af­ter mov­ing to the United States I had to re-eval­u­ate my style and learn to nav­i­gate cul­tural dif­fer­ences.

I would say my key lead­er­ship ap­proach is adapt­abil­ity — be­ing able to draw upon what best suits the sit­u­a­tion and the team I am lead­ing.

How has your style changed over time? Dif­fer­ent busi­ness chal­lenges need dif­fer­ent lead­er­ship styles. When I be­came the head of our North Amer­i­can op­er­a­tion, I had to work quickly and alone to guide the busi­ness through a chal­leng­ing turn­around.

But once it had sta­bi­lized, I had to open up to a more in­clu­sive and con­sul­ta­tive lead­er­ship style as we de­vel­oped a long-term strat­egy for growth.

How do you han­dle set­backs? I view set­backs as op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow, both as an in­di­vid­ual and as a busi­ness. The chal­lenges and hard­ships our group faced dur­ing the 2007 re­ces­sion can al­most be seen as a nec­es­sary step in achiev­ing the re­mark­able suc­cess we have to­day.

The set­backs we faced forced us to make our or­ga­ni­za­tion a leaner and more fo­cused op­er­a­tion. Our ex­tremely suc­cess­ful model of em­brac­ing in­no­va­tion was born.

So now, when­ever I am faced with a set­back, I al­ways look for an op­por­tu­nity that might arise.

What are your hob­bies? My role in­volves a lot of travel, so when­ever I am at home my first pri­or­ity is spend­ing time with my fam­ily. I love be­ing with my wife, son and daugh­ter.

This sum­mer, I have spent a num­ber of days trav­el­ing with my fam­ily to visit po­ten­tial col­leges that my daugh­ter might at­tend next year.

I am also an avid ten­nis player and as a child I used to dream of one day rep­re­sent­ing Spain.

How do you spend your free time in China?

Usu­ally, I am fo­cused on meet­ings with cus­tomers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. But I un­der­stand that through our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Shaanxi Rare Wild An­i­mals Res­cue and Re­search Cen­ter, which aims to fur­ther pro­tect the gi­ant panda in China, we had the honor of nam­ing a baby panda “John­son & John­son”. If I have free time, I am hop­ing to visit him.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Joaquin Du­ato, ex­ec­u­tive vice-president and world­wide chair­man of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals at John­son & John­son.

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