Partnerships in Focus: Q&A with Alexion-AstraZeneca’s Maciej Gajewski
At EUCOPE, our commitment is to lead and engage in partnerships spanning the entire medicine lifecycle to find actionable solutions that benefit our members, the patients they serve and healthcare systems overall. Through our Partnerships in Focus series, we’ll be highlighting different associates that we partner with to co-create solutions for various challenges across the healthcare ecosystem.
For this edition, we are speaking with Maciej Gajewski, Head of International Government Affairs and Policy of Alexion-AstraZeneca Rare Disease.
Maciej Gajewski has been Executive Director & Head of International Government Affairs and Policy at Alexion since 2018. He was previously a member of the Global Public Policy Team at Novartis, as Director of Global Franchise Public Affairs, leading the strategy to shape the policy environment for improved diagnosis, treatment and care of patients suffering from heart failure. He obtained his Master’s Degree in International Economics at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (Poland); he completed his studies with a fellowship at the University of Tübingen (Germany) and a postgraduate diploma in International Development, Public Health at the University of Geneva.
You can watch the full Q&A below on our YouTube channel. The transcript can be found below.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the life sciences industry today?
I think the biggest challenge is how we can make society benefit from the amazing and unprecedented opportunities that we as industry create. Thanks to the advancements of science and technology at the time of increased the budget pressures and, consciousness, of, budget impact that those technologies can bring about.
The pandemic has unveiled innovative new ways of working and has created unexpected but valuable alliances that we can build on. How can we take these lessons learned to rework the rare disease ecosystem through partnership?
There are a lot of lessons to take from this experience of COVID and partnering between different sectors to tackle the, the great challenge that we all faced. First that comes to mind is that trust may not be such a big issue overall, if we all have good intentions and we all want to work with the same challenge, second, the political commitment is really the, the most important key success factor that should be there. If we are realistically thinking of addressing the big challenges that that face the society such as rare diseases, for example. Thirdly, as we looking post-COVID, it’s very important to think about strategies ready ahead of time. So what we’re seeing right now with the preparedness in the U S is probably, and also in Europe is probably the way to think about the, how we should plan for addressing challenges for our diseases and fourth, public and private sectors have to work together where a pure market approach may not be the best way to address some of the challenges. And that is clearly the case with some of the rarest of the rare conditions that we are facing.
Currently, 95% of rare disease patients do not have treatments today. How can we utilise public-private partnerships to translate innovation into treatments for patients?
The partnerships offer great opportunities to drive synergies and really to create something that no one player can possibly deliver on his or her own. So pulling resources, winning capabilities and creating new models together is the way to go. In rare diseases, this is very striking. And one example that comes to mind is, the European reference networks. The European reference networks are amazing features of the European rare disease ecosystem and yet for different reasons that the partnership and the capability to work together with the pharmaceutical industry has not been fully explored. We can change that. And I think that could be a great way of developing forward-looking and, really effective public partnerships to tackle the greatest problems that the rare diseases community are facing
As a member of EUCOPE as well as a significant partner across the medicine lifecycle, what would you say are the benefits of partnering with EUCOPE?
Well, EUCOPE it’s a great industry partner that stays focused and highly effective despite its growing membership representing, both small, and medium enterprises, really dedicated to innovation in life science and pharmaceuticals in particular. I especially appreciate the flexibility, the nimbleness and the fast decision-making that EUCOPE offers to its members, as well as the ability to partner across the different initiatives that we as members bring about. In our case, there have been a few cases of this, which we really liked, the European, expert group on orphan drug incentives, the most recent program Together 4 Rare Diseases, but also, our own, rare conversation series where EUCOPE has partnered with us multiple times very successfully. So let’s just continue this great collaboration.