05 June 2020 | Opinion
BioSpectrum Asia spoke to Francis Van Parys, Vice-President Commercial, Asia-Pacific, Cytiva (Formerly GE Life Sciences), Seoul, South Korea
The UK headquartered Cytiva is a $3.3 billion global life sciences leader with nearly 7000 associates operating in 40 countries dedicated to advancing and accelerating therapeutics. As a trusted partner to customers that range in scale and scope, Cytiva brings speed, efficiency and capacity to research and manufacturing workflows, enabling the development, manufacture and delivery of transformative medicines to patients. Cytiva announced the collaboration with Takara Bio to develop DNA vaccine to confront the virus in Japan, on May 21. BioSpectrum Asia spoke to Francis Van Parys, Vice-President Commercial, Asia-Pacific, Cytiva (Formerly GE Life Sciences), Seoul, South Korea, who is responsible for providing transformational technologies in biopharmaceutical research, manufacturing and diagnostics to Cytiva customers and partners in the life sciences industry in China, India, Japan, Korea, ASEAN and Australia & New Zealand, for his major plans in store and his plans to enhance growth within the APAC region for the company.
What are the major plans in store for Cytiva? Any new segments to be explored?
Cytiva offers the same high-quality services as we did when we were part of GE Healthcare Life Sciences. It shouldn’t be overlooked that we are already a life sciences global leader and we expect our significant growth of recent years to continue. We have been at the forefront of innovation and development of areas such as protein purification, single-use technology and cell and gene therapies.
Cytiva will benefit from being a newly-created organization that is already a global life sciences leader. We have market leading brands such as ÄKTA, Amersham, HyClone and Whatman, among others. We also have more than 100,000 systems in use globally. We will continue innovating from within and working with our customers to develop next generation solutions.
One area where we want to and must do better is sustainability. This is a challenge and opportunity for any organization operating today and one that Cytiva takes very seriously. We don’t want to be just compliant in sustainability terms, we want to lead the industry. We will be focusing on areas such as GHG emission, use of plastics, packaging, water management and societal impact among other areas.
How do you plan to enhance your growth within the APAC region?
Asia’s Economies are seeing rapid growth in past decades meanwhile it suffers for the increases in cardiac disease, cancer and diabetes are subsequently anticipated, driven by increased life expectancy and lifestyle changes. Biotherapeutics are, and will remain, in the forefront of curing many of these diseases and improving the quality of lives across Asia.
Cytiva is well positioned to support the growth in protein-based therapeutics and future treatments, such as cell and gene therapies. Additionally, as the global healthcare system rapidly moves toward more personalized medicine, Cytiva will work with our customers to ensure we are developing the right tools and technologies to ensure efficient manufacturing of novel therapeutics.
How is Cytiva contributing to this fight against COVID-19?
The COVID-19 crisis has brought together the scientific community like never before. Our global team is helping to accelerate the work of researchers, developers, and manufacturers of diagnostics and vaccines, to bring access to much-needed solutions for COVID-19.
In Asia, we just announced the collaboration with Takara Bio to develop DNA vaccine to confront the virus in Japan, on May 21. Genedrive: PCR assay to detect SARS-CoV-2; Sona Nanotech: rapid response lateral flow test; Avacta: Affimer-based point-of-care rapid screening test and University of Queensland: vaccine
What will be the impact of this pandemic on the global economy? How is Cytiva preparing itself?
Cytiva’s number one priority is the health and safety of our employees and our customers. We are working closely with local governments, and world health authorities to actively monitor the outbreak and take all necessary precautions. We are prepared to walk alongside our customers to help ensure continuity of business, stay connected virtually for support, and provide solutions in this time of need.
The pandemic should not derail us from our key mission, which is to support the world’s development of new technologies and the manufacturing of existing drugs, which are so much important to the diabetes patient, or the cancer patient, or the young child that needs a vaccine. To achieve this mission, you have to shuffle, because suddenly you have to prioritize particular initiatives that you didn't have in mind at all two months ago. We have a task force with special focus on the COVID-19 coronavirus, like we did when Ebola and SARS were global pandemics. This allows us to rapidly respond to the needs of our customers.
Cytiva has comprehensive crisis management and security of supply programs in place. We are committed to fulfilling customer orders and regularly adjust our manufacturing output to respond to market demands, while ensuring our operations and service capabilities continue safely. We are also in regular contact with our suppliers regarding their business continuity plans to help minimize disruption of the flow of materials into our manufacturing facilities.