Det forteller Rajji Mehdwan til HealthTalk. Hun er administrerende direktør i Roche Norge. Initiativet er basert på Helsenæringsmeldingen som denne høsten skal debatteres og vedtas i Stortinget.
Artikklen fortsetter under videoen.
-Helsenæringsmeldingen viser at Norge virkelig ønsker å ta de nødvendige grepene for bygge en stor helseindustri. For meg og Roche er dette et veldig, veldig sterkt signal. Regjeringen, politikere og industrien har nå en felles visjon og ambisjon. Dette er i seg selv et stort første skritt. Nå må vi i helsenæringen og myndighetene fortsette det gode samarbeidet og etablere konkrete industribyggende prosjekter, sier Rajji Mehdwan, som er utålmodig på å komme i gang.
Mange tenker nok på Roche først og fremst som et legemiddelselskap. Men selskapet er mye mer enn det. Roche er verdens tredje største legemiddelfirma med en markedsverdi på 212 milliarder dollar. Men selskapet er også verdensledende innen diagnostikk der Roche investerer store beløp innen big data, gensekvensering og pasientdata. Det er åpenbare synergier mellom farmavirksomheten og diagnostikk. Den kombinerte styrken ved å ha legemidler, diagnostikk og data under samme tak, har gjort Roche ledende innen persontilpasset medisin.
Mehdwan har over 20 års erfaring innen helsesektoren, både med klinisk behandling av pasienter og som leder innen legemiddelindustrien. De siste ti årene har hun hatt flere ledende stillinger både i Roche i Europa og i Roche sitt datterselskap Genentech i USA.
HT: Do you think that it will be possible to build a strong Norwegian healthcare industry based on the strategy that is lined up in the industry white paper?
“Absolutely. I am truly excited about this white paper. You know we have talked about this for a long time. It is actually really fantastic to see the white paper and the principles that it outlines. We really embrace it as an industry. What I also really liked, was that the government wanted a true collaboration. We were asked for input, we contributed a lot to the white paper. And I think one of the principles that I love about the white paper is this desire to have stronger public-private cooperation. And to me when that happens, great things happen. Working in California and also being part of the Life Science Industry in Switzerland, I have seen great projects come to life for health when public and private cooperate. That is really fantastic and exciting to see that the desire is present also in Norway.
I believe though, to make it a reality: What we truly need is a cultural and a mindset change here in Norway. And that again it is really exciting to see that public stakeholders acknowledge that. So that the awareness is there. Yes, we do need to change. So that is great. And my hope is that we can truly accelerate that change. So that it is not something that we create over 5-10 years. There is tons of really cool opportunities now. So my hope is we can accelerate that change and really work together closely, in the short term.”
HT: Sveinung Stensland, a prominent Parliament member, talk about the need for a cultural change. According to Stensland, In Norway it is perceived as a problem making a profit in healthcare. What do you think about his perspective?
"I think he has exactly the right thoughts, so I fully agree with him and embrace his ideas. As he also mentioned, and as others have mentioned, bringing about cultural change is a long term thing. It is not something that you change in a day. But again I am excited that we are all embracing the same principles. So my hope is that change will happen."
HT: Your company is one of the leading innovative companies in the world and the third biggest pharmaceutical company. So you have tremendous intellectual powers. To be concrete, what can Roche do here in Norway to really make this ambition come true?
"There are two things, very concrete things. One of the things that we are unique in, is that we are not just a pharmaceutical company. We have a huge diagnostics business, and now we are also heavily investing in meaningful data businesses as well. So what I am truly excited about is that we can bring solutions that not only treat patients in hospitals, but also solutions that keep people out of hospitals. So for example we have an HPV test that diagnoses cervical cancer with 90% accuracy. So what does that mean in reality? It means that more women are diagnosed with cervical cancer earlier and hopefully they can be kept out of the hospital. And then of course I am very proud that we can bring solutions to women when they do get sick. That we have the right medicines. That is one part that I think is quite unique about Roche, that we can bring to Norway. The other strength that we can bring to Norway is our expertise in data. We have heavily invested in our data capabilities. We have access to Foundation Medicine, which is a genome sequencing company. We have access to Flatiron Health, which is an electronic medical record company.
So where I am going is; with the desire to really build a great data network here in Norway so that we can utilize that information to personalize solutions for you and me as individuals. For our health. There is a desire to do that here in Norway and we in Roche have the expertise. I would love to engage with the government on bringing that expertise to Norway and then helping with building something together."
HT: What do you need from the government to really roll out these fantastic new innovations that you have? What concrete will you ask the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health in order to help you?
"I think the first steps have already been taken. Again back to the white paper; I think the spirit, the principles and the desire to create a very strong Life Science Industry has been taken. To me that is a very, very strong signal. That the government, the politicians and the authorities really are truly invested in this. That in itself is again a huge first step. Beyond that, we need to start working together.
I think concretely we should find one or two key areas which bring value to Norwegian patients and work on that. For example; Roche is a founding member of INSPIRE. We, Abbvie and LMI started this project two years ago. And we have invested heavily with our expertise and our money into this project. And now we are bringing other companies together. This is one thing very concretely where we can work together with public stakeholders to create a very solid data network in Norway through INSPIRE."