Nick Warwick, chief medical officer at ADVANZ PHARMA, talks to PharmaTimes about his new role at the firm

What inspired you to join ADVANZ PHARMA?

ADVANZ PHARMA is a company going through change; it is resetting its strategic compass and is making ambitious moves towards a more complex, added-value portfolio. The focus, energy, huge experience and collective enthusiasm of the leadership team was palpable when I was approached to join the company. I found this incredibly energising.

Joining a new company needs to feel right and this was a company that, at the outset, acknowledged it had probably under- called investment in medical over the years and was seeking help to establish a new medical function. This was not surprising, given the predominantly niche generic focus of the company in the past. For the first time in many years, I instinctively felt that I could help and could not only make a difference, but also enjoy what I did along the way. I take my hat off to the chief executive Graeme Duncan, and the senior leadership team for this – they had me hooked from the first interview!

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

This may sound blunt but ‘hope’ doesn’t enter into it. I worked with Graeme and the leadership team from day one to create a transformational plan for medical. Key change drivers included the recent strategic shift to add more complex products to our portfolio, and the recent acquisition of Correvio has radically altered the company’s commercial footprint across Europe, bringing innovative, patent-protected medicines to our portfolio for the first time. My objective from the outset has been to create an expert, focused, medical function able to provide rapid assessment of portfolio opportunities and expertly execute due diligence. Other focuses are acting as a strategic partner to commercial teams and business units, engaging with credibility with external experts, healthcare organisations, agencies and partners and ultimately keeping our patients safe and our activities compliant. I am delighted that I was able to announce the new-look medical function to the organisation two months after joining.

What are the challenges, and how will you/ADVANZ PHARMA navigate them?

It’s really easy to slip back to what you know, and to do things the way you have always done them. What has worked in the past for another organisation may be easy to cut and paste into a new company, but this is rarely the right thing to do. So I challenge myself and my team to think about the specific needs of ADVANZ PHARMA, push beyond convention and to focus on what matters: the health of our patients and our company. Retaining this sharp focus on the specific needs of an evolving, more complex portfolio, while keeping our eye on the base legacy generics business will be an important balance to get right. At times like this, core values of seamless teamwork, openness, smart decision-making and entrepreneurialism will help to equip us.

What’s next for the company?

The Correvio acquisition is just one part of a multifaceted strategy for growth. What I love about ADVANZ PHARMA is our unashamed ambition – and ability – to evolve, grow, succeed and be different. Further enrichment of our portfolio is one very large key to our future success, and ultimately makes the role of medical more relevant and rewarding. New ways of working in the post COVID-19 era is also something that we are all coming to terms with and navigating. Our adaptability and resilience will help us all get through this.