Innovating to grow, from rare diseases to Covid
Eriona Gjinukaj, Chief Operating Officer Dompé Pharmaceuticals, explains how Dompé has changed, not only for its products but also for how it operates within it.
Innovating and a constant new vision are transformative elements in high-tech sectors, and the pharmaceutical industry is no exception. For example, in the last four years, Dompé Pharmaceuticals has doubled its research and development investment. Our company will invest another 300 million euros in the next three years, with a turnover that has more than doubled from 2018, going from 200 million euros to more than 500 million in 2020.
"Our company is facing a transformation phase, and in this path of change, everyone puts into their work the same enthusiasm and passion than before. I have rarely seen such a close and passionate group of people, and this is an incredible strength", comments Eriona Gjinukaj, Chief Operating Officer Dompé Pharmaceuticals.
A solid and international team made up of more than 800 collaborators worldwide from Italy to the United States, from China to Albania. We have an inclusive and diverse group that includes excellent scientific talents and the best examples of the new professions of Industry 4.0. The commitment to the constant search for new resources to whom to support and trust has created a fair work environment: women represent half of the total workforce in Dompé and half of the management. The female population of the company is the result of an internal policy that aims to reward excellence without distinction of gender. A result to be proud of.
"One of the most demanding challenges", says the COO, originally from Tirana and formed between Italy and the United States, "was to launch the first biotechnological drug to treat neurotrophic keratitis in the USA". "In 2018, we created the American branch with the first 50 people whose commitment and dedication to the project made the difference. In just four months from the office's opening, we have devised a distribution model by launching the product and creating a solid network with the authorities and doctors. It was our miracle. One of the most beautiful moments in which the entire company worked with excellent team spirit to successfully implement this project, "proudly says Eriona.
This result has given a significant boost to all departments that have continued to drive innovation and the company's evolution. And if in 2018 teamwork made this fundamental step possible, in 2020 it was the key factor that made the difference in a previously unimaginable situation.
Covid-19 represented a real test for Dompé pharmaceuticals. By proving to be able to anticipate changes, the company had to respond promptly to difficulties. "We have a massive responsibility to our employees, and their safety comes first. At the same time, we cannot forget the even greater responsibility towards patients, whose health also depends on our products. These were the thought that guided us. As a result, we made some critical choices, sometimes even against the tide by deciding to manage the emergency instead of suffering it ", recalls the COO.
Dompé Pharmaceuticals immediately avoided the production block, which would have meant products delivered late or never delivered, leading to an irreparable interruption of therapy for hundreds of people. The hopes of these patients were literally in our hands. "At a time when the whole world stopped, we kept moving forward. We have devised new safety protocols ensuring spacing, continuous sanitation of spaces, and the equipment necessary to work safely ", says Eriona. These efforts allowed for timely delivery of therapies for all patients: no one was left out. "Furthermore, we quickly realized that our employees, more than at any other time in our history, needed to be protected. The global economy was about to enter a moment of stagnation. For this reason, another of our priorities was the non-adoption of the redundancy fund: everyone could carry out their work without any interruption. In a period of global uncertainty, it was our responsibility to be a point of reference".
Once the moment of emergency has passed, Dompé Pharmaceuticals is today experiencing yet another revolution. From the search for therapeutic solutions to the evolution of the pipeline; from digitization to the promotion of talents, today and for the next few years, our challenge will be to continue to grow and transform, in the name of constant innovation at 360 °, without ever losing our DNA.