With a population of 1.4 billion, China is a market that most medtech companies can't afford to ignore. However, differences in population types (urban versus rural), the government's role in healthcare expansion and a multi-tiered distribution system that is undergoing reform make navigating the Chinese market a challenge.
So, why should pharma care about digital therapeutics? This was just one of the questions posed to a panel of digital therapeutics experts during the 2018 CNS Summit. Hailing from Akili Interactive Labs, Applied VR, Dthera Sciences, Novartis, Otsuka, and Pear Therapeutics, their collective backgrounds are impressive (i.e., physicians and Ph.D.s) with diverse experiences that include biotech, clinical research, FDA, and pharma (i.e., big, rare disease, small, and specialty). Just as impressive are some of the therapeutic areas in which they are working to find (or have found) digital treatments, either as mono or adjunctive therapies.
In 2006, 26-year-old Frank Wang started up DJI in a dorm room at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. The legend goes that Frank’s father had given him an expensive remote-controlled model helicopter for doing well in school. When the helicopter predictably crashed shortly after, Wang became determined to build a better controller. As part of his graduate thesis, he perfected an electronics flight controller, a critical element of drone technology. Today, Shenzhen-based DJI, of which one of us is a board member, holds a global market share of 70% in consumer drones
Statistics on leadership in the life sciences industry indicate a disturbing trend for women. They enter the industry in equal proportion to men but account for just 24 percent of C-suite positions and about 14 percent of board-level positions. That’s according to a 2017 report by The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), based on surveys of 850 professionals and 70 companies within the state. Similarly, Women in the Workplace 2017, a national report based on surveys of more than 70,000 employees and 222 companies by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.org, found 52 percent of entry-level positions at pharmaceutical and medical products companies are filled by women, and 22 percent of C-suite positions are filled by them. The MassBio report says the number for biotech boards is probably closer to 10 percent. GSK’s Emma Walmsley made headlines in 2017 when she was named Big Pharma’s first female CEO – and was given a pay package worth 25 percent less than her predecessor’s.
Three prominent Chinese executives discuss the progress of local companies in drug innovation and the evolving regulatory environment.
China has stepped up investment in drug innovation in recent years, both in basic research and in industry research and development. China’s pharmaceutical market is the second largest worldwide, after that of the United States, reaching $115 billion in sales in 2015. Further growth is on the way. China faces mounting medical needs—for example, it has 114 million diabetic patients and more than 700,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year. At the same time, the ongoing reform of the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) aims to accelerate the pace of pharmaceutical development in the country.
ANbridge Life Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company developing Western drug candidates in China and North Asia, announced that it strengthened the executive management team with the appointment of May Orfali, MD, as Chief Medical Officer, on July 23, 2018. Dr. Orfali replaced Dr. Mark Goldberg, who was acting as interim Chief Medical Officer.
Taiwan sits, along with its smaller counterparts, Singapore and Hong Kong, as one of the gateway countries to running a clinical trial in China. Although Hong Kong’s regulatory ties are more formalized with China, than Taiwan, Taiwan has the right environment and population to make the possibility of greater regulatory cohesion with its giant neighbour, not such a distant possibility, representing a huge opportunity for sponsors looking to break into the China market at some point.
The Chinese government has signalled its commitment to ensuring the quality of clinical trials conducted in China. In 2015, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) announced a plan to protect data integrity, requesting that trial applicants inspect their own data. The government also initiated inspections of research data by CFDA officials. This plan was not only limited to self-inspection by researchers. Instead, it provides a chance for researchers to withdraw applications to the CFDA without further punishment, or a time window in which to make amendments to the quality of the data.
Increasingly, physicians’ every action and outcome is measured and reported. The data-gathering process can be frustrating, and many clinicians are growing skeptical of its clinical value. For them, outcomes measurement may seem like just another reimbursement requirement or process compliance task. However, measuring patient-reported outcomes (PROs) — patients’ own accounting of their symptoms, functional status, and quality of life — can and should be a clinical tool.
As the head of a large manufacturing plant at a multinational conglomerate, an executive I’ll call David had proved himself a competent, trustworthy manager. So when the presidency of one of the company’s key businesses unexpectedly became vacant, the CEO sat David down to share the good news that he had been chosen for the role....
Having a strong pool of talent is critical for success in today’s business environment. After all, weak leadership can be one of the biggest impediments companies face. Diversity in leadership is a potential key to unlocking high performance within organizations. However, despite significant attention and investment, the top management of the largest U.S. corporations remains not very diverse.
The difficulty Western companies have identifying managers with leadership potential in East Asia says more about prevailing Western views of leadership than it does about available talent.
Many western multinational corporations (MNCs) operating in East and Southeast Asia bemoan the lack of local leadership talent. Several recent surveys have pointed to the scarcity of regional talent as a growth limiting factor in the Far East. But fast emerging MNCs in Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia, as well as companies in China and Japan, don’t seem to have as much trouble finding or growing Asian leaders.
Bundled payments in health care have gained favor because they can reduce costs and help improve outcomes. In essence, episodic bundles cover the cost of a patient’s care from start to finish—all the procedures, devices, tests, drugs and services a patient will need for, say, a knee replacement or back surgery.
While Medicare has led the development of bundles in the U.S., large employers are now directly purchasing bundled care for their employees through selected providers.
We know innovation drives corporate growth. As Strategy& reported in its 2015 survey of 1,757 executives, “innovation today is a key driver of organic growth for all companies — regardless of sector or geography.” According to that report, the top 1,000 R&D spenders invested $680 billion in R&D that year, up 5% from the prior year. Historically, R&D has been viewed as the engine of national economic growth as well.
So why is R&D producing a worse ROI than ever?
One of the most interesting findings of a recent HBR article on team chemistry is that the types of people who become leaders within organizations are about 30% less likely than their coworkers to feel stressed out. As the CEO of a small investment firm, I was surprised by the finding, but as I considered my own leadership style and intraoffice relationships, I concluded that the authors were onto something. Plus, a finding from a 20,000-person survey is probably worth paying attention to....
The general view in business is that top-end talent is highly sensitive to and motivated by compensation and that big monetary rewards are key to their management. There is a grain of truth to this — but only a grain. In my 36-year career, I haven’t met a single person truly at the top end of the talent distribution who is highly motivated by compensation. Not one.
The chief executive role is a tough one to fill. From 2000 to 2013, about a quarter of the CEO departures in the Fortune500 were involuntary, according to the Conference Board. The fallout from these dismissals can be staggering: Forced turnover at the top costs shareholders an estimated $112 billion in lost market value annually, a 2014 PwC studyof the world’s 2,500 largest companies showed. Those figures are discouraging for directors who have the hard task of anointing CEOs—and daunting to any leader aspiring to the C-suite. Clearly, many otherwise capable leaders and boards are getting something wrong. The question is, what?