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Leading by Example.

Servier is an international pharmaceutical company, governed by a foundation and headquartered in Suresnes (France). With a strong international presence…

Leading by Example

26th July 2017


Leading by Example

Servier is an international pharmaceutical company, governed by a foundation and headquartered in Suresnes (France). With a strong international presence in 148 countries, a turnover of €4 billion in 2016 and a mission to deliver therapeutic solutions to patients, it is fitting that the Director of Servier Laboratories Australia and New Zealand International Centre for Therapeutic Research (ICTR) was given both the Australian CEO Top 25 and, 2017’s Best Performing Pharmaceutical Company CEO awards. To celebrate these successes, we invited Director of the ICTR, Pedro Crisanto to reveal more about the firm’s work and his current senior job role.

With a strong international presence in 148 countries and a turnover of €4 billion in 2016, Servier employs 21,000 people worldwide today. Servier’s corporate growth is driven by their constant search for innovation in five areas of expertise: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, immune-inflammatory diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. Being completely independent, the group reinvests 25% of turnover in research and development and uses all its profits for growth.

Pedro Crisanto begins by revealing his thoughts on being awarded the Australian CEO Top 25 2017’s and Best Performing Pharmaceutical Company CEO accolades.

“I am deeply honoured and very pleased to be recognised for something that I’m passionate and fully committed to. As any director would know, the work that we do is a collective effort, so I consider this to be a wonderful acknowledgement for the team and for our active engagement in R&D activities here in Australia, with the local scientific community through our clinical trials and research activities.

“Being governed by a foundation, sets Servier apart from most pharmaceutical companies. Our profits, rather than being used to pay shareholders, are significantly reinvested into therapeutic research. The freedom of not letting quarterly results dictate your strategy, while still being mindful that we need to insure the sustainability of the group, allows us to create our own fate with a mid/long term vision in mind.

“This independence also comes at a price however, as we each carry an individual and collective responsibility to build our future. So, this award is a significant recognition of our strategy to focus in providing patients with innovative therapeutic solutions and of the commitment of our team to finding cures, providing relief and saving lives.”
Pedro then reveals more about his work as a Director and what this involves, including for example his successes, methods and achievements.

“As a director, you need to create an environment that allows people to thrive and to be at their best. In the healthcare sector, which can be very volatile, you need to be a buffer and absorb some of the stress, so that the team can remain focused on their objectives of bringing innovation to the patients. This doesn’t mean to shelter people from change because constant evolution is key to succeed, but you need to be mindful that evolution is a process not an event. You can constantly evolve but you can’t constantly change or you will risk alienating people.

“I’m convinced that the commitment of our men and women is essential to our success – and for that you need to step away from your desk and engage with your team – and help them find their sense of purpose. Don’t let yourself be ruled by your inbox – this might help you to be a great manager – but it will prevent you from being a great leader.

Albert Einstein said, ‘Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new’. As access to innovation is a major strategic challenge for us, my role is to let people know that they can fail and learn from the mistakes. This way, when they take up a major strategic challenge, they can move forward with their eyes on the horizon and not on the rearview mirror. In chemistry, we define ‘catalyst’ as a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being consumed. I do think that my role is to be that trigger, that accelerator it’s just the not being consumed part that I’m still working on (joke).

“The best thing about being a director is when you hear stories about patients and their families about how their lives were transformed, because of the work that you do, or when you see someone in your team meeting his or her full potential.”

Staying on the subject of being a director, Pedro is keen to reveal what he perceives to be the main attributes of any person in the same senior position as him.

“The main attributes of any director should be to have a clear vision and lead by example. You must walk the talk, otherwise you will never get the buy in and commitment from your team. Your daily actions need to match and live up to the vision shared by the group and that a leader embodies, so that together you can build a successful future.

“You also need to actively listen, do not just hear what you think people are saying to validate your pre-conceived assumptions, be curious. By having an open mind and sharing, you will be able to build on one another’s experiences.

“The ability to address issues when they arise is very important, plus not being complacent or avoiding difficult conversations, as they will undermine your commitment to succeed. You also need to trust the people who are in charge and understand where you can bring in added value and where you do not. Finding the right balance between keeping up with the daily demands of running a business, while still being able to formulate creative strategic initiatives for the future, is another key aspect.”

Pedro shares with us his most significant achievements from the past calendar year as a director.“In the past year, we have contributed to the fact that Servier worldwide has been identified as the 2nd best company in the 2017 CenterWatch Global Investigative Site Relationship Survey. This surveys more than 1,300 global investigative sites on 40 relationship attributes, to determine the best biopharmaceutical companies to work with. Not only were we the 2nd highest ranking sponsor rated by investigative sites globally, but we were also on the top three and four of the five criteria deemed the most important.

“In Australia, we conducted our ‘first in human clinical trial’ with one of new oncology drugs that targets the inhibition of cell survival proteins which allows cancer cells to escape death-inducing signals, such as apoptosis. This could represent a highly innovative treatment, which we hope will provide innovative therapeutic solutions, to address the needs of cancer patients.

“Servier acknowledges Australia as one of the leading countries in scientific research and development, so during this year we have continued to increase our R&D activities, by further strengthening strategic partnerships with key hospitals, institutes and universities.”
Pedro proceed to reveal his career journey – prior to becoming a director – plus the details of how he attained his current position.

“I have a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and two masters in Pharmaceutical Medicine, one by European Centre of Pharmaceutical Medicine in Basel, Switzerland and a second by the University of Aveiro in Portugal. I started my career working in a scientific consulting company in my home town of Lisbon, Portugal. I worked there for five years in clinical research, regulatory affairs and in business development. I believe that this gave me a strong background for the next the step in my career, joining Servier.

“I had the opportunity to join Servier in 2007, to help to create the Portuguese department of the Spain & Portugal International Centre for Therapeutic Research. Over five years, I worked closely with local and international colleagues, to develop the firm’s activity and the team work in Portugal.

“This proved to be a very enriching experience that in 2012 led me to Paris as Deputy Worldwide Clinical Operations Manager, where I had the chance to work with the Worldwide Clinical Operations Director in defining the global clinical operations strategy, optimising the contribution of each region to this strategy and in the promotion and cross-fertilisation of innovative ideas. In 2014, I was appointed Director of the Australia and New Zealand International Centre for Therapeutic Research.” In closing, Pedro reveals his hopes and plans for 2017 and beyond.

“Collaboration is a key cornerstone in research, development and partnerships with other pharma and biotech companies, academia, institutes and governments. This is fundamental, to allow us to fulfil our mission of delivering positive outcomes to patients in need and of contributing to ensure access to quality healthcare for all. Australia is a prime example of a rich ecosystem, with a longlasting tradition of institutions focused on innovation, in both medical research and improving healthcare.

“In the 2017 edition of the QS World University Rankings, Monash University in Melbourne, was ranked the second in the world in the field of pharmacy and pharmacology. We work in collaboration with the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in an exciting research programme with G protein– coupled receptors. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is one of the leading institutes worldwide in the field cancer research and have been at the forefront of translating laboratory discoveries to innovative medical research, and we are proud to say that some of these collaborative discoveries have been the focus of a Nature publication.

“Through our fellowship programme with The George Institute, we are contributing
to sustainable healthcare. The George Institute for Global Health is a health and medical research institute; whose mission is to improve the health of millions of people worldwide. They have been named by The Lancet as ‘one of the world’s most renowned global health research institutions’, indeed their work is helping to shape healthcare policies around the globe.

“Therefore, in 2017 and beyond, we will continue to develop new and to build on these existing strategic partnerships. At the same time, we will also put our energy into developing our assets in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, immune-inflammatory diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases faster and more effectively with the goal of meeting the needs of patients.”

Name: Pedro Crisanto,Director

Email: [email protected]

Web Address:

Address: 8 Cato Street, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122, Australia

Telephone: +613 8823 7333

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