Excellent. Well, good morning everyone. My name is Michael Braun and I lead the Immunology business at BMS. And I’m just coming up on five months at the company.
Good morning everyone. My name is Ester Banke and I’m the SVP and general manager for the US hematology business at BMS. I’ve been four years actually in the company, and before that, 25 years at another big company like Novartis.
Well, it’s great to be with you, Ester, because actually we share almost ten years of history of working together and so it’s great to be here with you. And there is so much going on in our industry and just in the overall world right now. Science is advancing at a rapid pace. Healthcare, professional and patient expectations are rapidly changing. The explosion of data in digital and technology is really at the forefront. And as Bob just reminded us, we have an election going on. So a lot going on. Tell them, tell me. Let’s start get your perspective on what what’s really impacting our our industry today.
You know, Michael, I was thinking that a lot is changing, but you and I are not changing, right? So we are the same as the last ten years. Can you believe that? No.
I have a couple more gray hairs.
I cover them. Innovation is at the core of our industry. And if you think about drug discovery and how it has transformed over the last 30 years that I’ve been in the industry, it’s been phenomenal. 30 years ago, I was a sales rep and I will carry my back small molecules that were based on a chemistry pathway. And since then, can you imagine, we had targeted therapies biologics and even now, cell and gene therapies that are transformational for patients. So when you think about what has facilitated that, obviously the bioscience, better understanding about genomics and many other armics DNA recombination technology, and most importantly, digital technology has enabled drug discovery to go and transform at the level that 30 years ago. I will have never imagined that today we could take part of our immune system reengineering and put it back to our body to fight cancer and to cure cancer in some cases, right? But that’s not the only thing that is changing. When I’m thinking about the players that have now access to that science and that technology that is also increasing significantly. So you have big pharma startups, you have academia, you have governments.
So there are many players having access to that technology and many players bringing drugs to the market. And what is happening when that happens? Obviously, you have so much competition right now playing in the marketplace and that is creating drugs to have less time exclusivity on the market. I’m not talking about pattern life, I’m talking about how relevant you are in the market, think about that. Products like Gluco that you and I know from our company. When Gluvic for CNL was launched, it took like, I think seven years, maybe a little longer to have another molecule to compete. Well, when Carta Therapies were launched just in 2017, in less than a few months, you have a competitor launching in self therapy. Right? So the pace of competition is just reducing the time of exclusivity in the market. That’s putting a lot of pressure on brands and ultimately on companies. At the same time, you see regulators and also payers. They’re raising the bar. They’re not willing to approve nor reimburse, just incremental innovation. They’re looking for transformational innovation. That’s putting also more pressure on companies, not only on developing fast, but also making sure that it can be reimbursed, approved and reimbursed.
Right. So there are so many trends that are putting pressure now on the companies that when I’m thinking about the pace, I don’t see the same pace that we’ve seen in drug discovery replicated at the same level in the other parts of the value chain. When you think about the way we are getting access, the way we are commercializing, the way we are engaging with customers, it hasn’t dramatically changed from when I started my career 30 years ago. It has changed, but not at the same level as drug discovery. But this is also changing at a fast pace. So basically when you think about around us, there is a lot of change that has happened and a lot of change that is yet to come.
So I’m hearing a lot about pace and the rapid change in pace. How should we be thinking about pace and what should we really do about it?
Sometimes when one thing is about pace, pace, pace, I just get anxious, right. Just by thinking how fast things happen at work, but also around us in our personal lives. But in front of a challenge, there’s always an opportunity. And I strongly believe in that. And interestingly, when you look at the pace of the letters that you have in pace, you find the opportunity. So you have P, that stands as purpose. You have A. That stands for Agility. Agility. You have C, that stands for collaboration and you have E that stands for execution. Am I intriguing you?
You’ve intrigued me. Maybe we should dig into that because having worked with you for several years, I know you’re a real purpose driven leader, right. It shows up in who you are every single day. How does that play out in this new environment we’re in?
Thank you. Thank you for that. Michael. I feel we are privileged to work in health care and in the different parts of health care and in a pharma company, I think we are fortunate to do something that is really meaningful for patients. And we are ultimately patients, every one of us. At some point in our lives or our families or friends. So in the 30 years I’ve been working in this industry, I’ve seen that people take very seriously what we do to bring medicines and realtors’corporate patients lives. I think this is more important than ever that we keep in mind every day that’s my North Star when I’m under a lot of work, when you have deliverables, when you are working along hours, my north start is that what we do? What I do helps patients. And I think profit and purpose go hand in hand, meaning that you focus on the patients, you do what is right for the patients, results will come. And that’s how profit should come to a company doing meaningful, doing great things for patients and changing lives for patients.
So what I’m hearing is actually, regardless of the pace that North Stark being front and center is really critical. Moving on to the second piece you introduced, agility. Right? I hear that word a lot. We want to be more agile, hire folks with agility. What does that really mean specifically in a commercial organization?
Yeah, agility. When you have a market that is changing so fast, when you launch a brand that may have market exclusivity for one year, two years or two months, you have to pivot quickly. At least you need to react to the market very quickly and if possible, you need to anticipate the market. So you are already changing before the next market event or the next competitor. And that applies to the entire company, but commercially in particular. Something that started to merge a few years ago, I’m going to give an example, just to illustrate was real world data. If you remember, some payers were starting to be interested. It was not mandatory, but was appreciated. Payers started to also ask for more about real world data. How is your problem behavior? What is the value of your problem? What is the outcome of your product in the real life? So some companies are starting to build capabilities back then and BMS was at the forefront of that effort. And actually for many years BMS had been building very strong capabilities in real world data. Well, just doing ASCO this year. And it was just a year after we had launched our BCMA card therapy Abecma.
Just a year before that, a year later, we had presented at ASCO real world data of a similar size of patients that we have in our clinical trials, replicating the efficacy and the safety in patients in real life, just one year after launching with a similar size than our clinical trials. So that was hugely appreciated by the medical community because especially in cell therapies, you may have patients that will not qualify for a clinical trial, but yet in real life you need to treat them. So being able to show that in real life the problem was behaving exactly therapy was behaving exactly as with clinical trials, increase the willingness to use our therapy and increase also the belief and the perception of our therapy. So that’s a clear example. Another example is eloquent our blood filler in partnership also with Pfizers, the company created BMS, created a database that four years was collecting information about real world data for patients. Well, recently we reached 250,000 patients in that database for five years, showing superiority, better efficacy than any other brand that was competing in the space. So you can imagine when you bring this to payers or when you bring this to customers, that makes a big difference, right?
So anticipating at that time that something was emerging which was real data was relevant. And building those capabilities is not only paying off, but also is needed for patients, for regulators and for payers.
So a lot of that happens with not just ourselves, right? We can’t just do this alone. And you just talked about HLR and other key folks that we work with. So collaboration is really key. Creating a sense of community is a big part of culture. How do you bring that to life? And maybe some tips for the group around how to really have true collaboration.
Michael collaboration for me is one of my favorite. I would say out of the four, everyone is wrong. But collaboration is critical because in the past we could work in silos and although you wouldn’t get the best outcomes, you could still do a relatively good job. That’s not any more the case. You have to work really consumptionally within a company. You have also to partner externally with other players, with payers, with relators. So collaboration is critical, right? So when I think about what it takes to have a true collaborative organization is number one, the mindset. Everyone needs to think like a CEO, have enterprise mindset. No matter where you sit and think how you’re going to need to work with to make sure that you can move the needle. And then you also need to have accountability because the flip side of collaboration, if it’s not well understood, is that it’s a team effort. So I don’t take accountability, that’s not the case. So it’s like working together with the CL mindset and taking accountability. So that’s 1 second. Organizations need to have a scale because if you think about what we just said about the pace of drug discovery and development, you need to have a scale.
If you cannot have a scale with a big company, at least you need to have partnerships and create that scale virtually. So you need to have a scale, but yet you need to be very agile so the scale cannot paralyze you, otherwise you won’t succeed. Right? For that to happen, you have to have a diversity of backgrounds of thought, because to problem solve complex complexity like the one that we are experiencing in our industry, or pace, you need to make sure that you have different views and you problem solve together. But you cannot problem solve together if you don’t have an inclusive culture. Right? Because you can have a lot of diversity. But if you do not include different voices, it doesn’t matter how diverse you are. And then to have an inclusive culture, I’m just unfolding, as you can see, you’re tracking. The last thing is to have an inclusive culture, you need to have inclusive leaders. And when I’m thinking about you, and I have spoken so much about the successful leaders today and what leadership will look like in the future. And I think leaders need to be obviously visionary. They need to anticipate, they need to understand the bigger picture, they need to anticipate the future.
But also they need to be able to balance being compassionate, being caring, being purpose driven. We need leaders that really care about people and about patients and they follow a purpose. Yet those leaders also need to be driven. They need to make tough decisions, they need to be able to drive performance and execute. So you need that balance. So I think we are expecting more from leaders moving forward.
What I’m hearing from you is really connected. Connected leaders that connect with each other and bring out the best in each other, but put all the key things on the table to get what’s right.
I think the last piece you introduced on this was around execution. And to really make an impact, we have to when the rubber meets the road, we have to deliver.
And how do we do that at an accelerated pace?
Execution is critical. You can do everything and you don’t execute, you go nowhere. Right. Today, digital is helping power that execution. If I compare when I started with my paper cards, I was going to the different doctors papercastle. And now what we have today, for example, with targeting customers in a dynamic basis, that we update our list every month. Not every year, every two years or never, but every month. Right. Or that we are able also to go to customers in a timely manner. Meaning that we know that they are ready to consider a decision of changing therapies because they have patients that are failing to existing therapies. And we know when that timely manner is. Or that we can choose the best way to do it. What we call best next action. Think about what we can do. I wish I had this 30 years ago. I can tell you because my job would have been even better and more impactful ultimately to bring our medicines to patients in real time.
Yesterday we shared a lot of great perspectives here, especially of how we drive impact to our purpose. How do you manage this pace personally and the balance every day?
The truth is that pace is here to stay not only in our industry, but in our life. So the question is how do we manage our energy? How we connect to our balance, our inner self. And you need to choose whatever works for you. For me, meditation, it really keeps me grounded, and I meditate every day, but I know that for you, there are other things that work. I mean, because you share the meditation side of them. But you do think I will never be able to do.
I think we all have to find the thing that works for us. For me, it’s definitely some type of training. I do triathlon, so whether it’s a swim, a bike, or a run, that puts me in the right frame of mind to bring out the best of me every single day. But we have to find something that works for us so that we can balance that pace and show up as our best self every single day.
I agree. And I think I want to make sure that we do not leave the audience thinking that the world is crazy yet. The world is a little bit crazy, but at the same time, think about the many times that in history they were quantum leaps and the society adjusted and just move on to the next level. And that’s what we are. So doing that with being center on what really matters, managing your energy, it’s an embracing the opportunity for the change. I think we can do great things together.
Yeah. I mean, I leave Ester with a lot of energy, thinking that we actually can control our destiny. Right? This 20 minutes flew by like a sprint, but what we do is really more like a marathon. I just completed the New York Marathon this weekend and had to manage my energy, otherwise I would have never accomplished the goal. And I think that’s a key lesson for us is this is about having purpose, having that agility, collaborating, making sure that we’re focused on what we can execute. And if we do that, we’re going to set ourselves up to have an impact. As you said, we’re privileged every single day to transform patients’lives. That’s what we do. We we change fundamentally how diseases are treated and the impact and the quality of life of people. So to be an enterprise leader, taking on these types of principles will really allow us to have a lasting impact and leave a legacy so that we can continue to make progress in this world. So thank you so much for what you’ve shared with us and looking forward to a great session today and tomorrow.
Thank you, Michael. Thank you.
That was awesome. Thank you very much.