Read the Conversation
EF: What mission did you set for yourself when you were appointed?
DC: The company has positioned itself as a leader in innovation and will continue being a leader in the future because it keeps adopting new technologies. Innovation can reach patients through access. Therefore, my main business objective is to transform the portfolio and make sure innovation gets to patients through access.
From a more personal professional approach, I want to continue growing. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to lead a whole organization and to add value as a leader for the pharma team in Mexico. It is a tremendous challenge for professional growth, especially since Mexico is the second biggest market in Latin America.
EF: In 2020, the focus was on diagnostics; in 2021, the focus shifted towards vaccines; what do you think 2022 will be the year of?
DC: The pandemic shook us and changed the way we approach health. Several patients lost the opportunity to get their check-ups, diagnosis, and treatments in time. 2020 was the year of diagnosis for covid, not for other diseases.
The positive side of the pandemic was how it helped to highlight the importance of health in our lives and the importance of preparedness and prevention. Many businesses and people learned to invest in innovation. The way many companies were prepared and willing to invest in covid heavily accelerated the development of vaccines.
2022 will be the year of stabilizing the system and restoring stability in our day-to-day living. It is also the year of curiosity. We need curiosity to assess what is going to stay and what is not going to last. What we learned in the past two years will enhance the future of health. We will be going back to the future of health.
EF: How can we get patients back to care and increase awareness?
DC: There are two parts to this. The first part is to make patients more willing to get back into the system. For this to work, centres and hospitals must be prepared to ensure patient safety. The awareness and the need to go back should also be increased.
The second part concerns how institutions, governments, NGOs, hospitals, and centres follow up with patients. The outcome worsens when a diagnosis is delayed, which worsens the societal impact. As a part of the ecosystem, we must continuously work on raising awareness of the risk of delaying access. Institutions need to accelerate the reduction of health delays in all aspects of health. These delays impact the economy of a country. The less healthy a nation is, the fewer people contribute to its economy.
EF: What is the role of healthcare in developing the economy?
DC: Every time we contribute towards healthcare and treatments that increase a patient's lifespan, we contribute to the economy. A healthy nation uses fewer resources overall. Therefore, the best investment is education and healthcare.
EF: Which product are you most excited about among the new launches you will be making this year?
DC: I am honoured and proud to be part of Bayer Mexico for several reasons, like innovation and diversity. We are currently focused on short, mid, and long-term innovation pathways. Short-term, we have 40 molecular products that are in the pipeline. Unfortunately, the approval time in Mexico is slower than in other countries, which delays the arrival of our products.
We are planning to launch products in the next 18 months. There are two products based on oncology, two for the cardiovascular area and one for haemophilia. More products will come out in a couple of years based on women's health, cardiology, and ophthalmology.
Seven years from now, I believe we will become the leaders of collagen therapy. We are currently in the top three in collagen therapy with our level of investment. We are collaborating with physicians from companies like AskBio in gene therapy and BlueRock in cell therapy that articulate as independent companies with the support of Bayer. Some companies work more as entrepreneur startups though they are 100% subsidiaries of Bayer. This allows them to deliver products speedily with Bayer's help.
We have product phases one and two of gene therapy and cell therapy development. We are confident to face and release products that will help cure certain diseases in the market in the second half of the decade.
EF: What do you think Mexico needs to embrace gene therapy and innovation?
DC: A cooperative environment where companies, institutions, and authorities work together shapes the market environment for new treatments and solutions. We support collaborative solutions that enable innovation to shine through. At Bayer, we want the health authorities to support the model needed for innovative gene therapy.
Everyone who benefits from the healthcare system plays a role in making it more sustainable. The access environment must change if we move from treating diseases to curing diseases. This can only be achieved through cooperating to ensure the patient benefits.
EF: How do you see clinical trials evolving, and how important is Mexico for Bayer's clinical trials?
DC: Mexico is part of our global footprint for phase three trials. It is important to have diversity and representation from different countries in the last stage of clinical trials. Trials are evolving and should be diverse and represent different patients. We usually have patients from seven Latin American countries. Currently, we are implementing more digitalization into the trial to accelerate the initial parts of the trial.
We are working on systems and programs that allow us to be agile. It is an area that will transform itself as we change the different sections of our company.
EF: You are introducing a new product for diabetes is it under your scope?
DC: Digital transformation is a broad topic. I believe digital transformation has three pillars. The first pillar is the digitalization of the basics. It allows us to be more agile, acute, and faster in decision-making. The second pillar is the digitalization of processes. This includes how we interact with our clients or quickly discover new drugs.
This is where the company incorporates AI into processes. The third pillar is the digitalization of business models. We have to be aware of all the opportunities that are in healthcare.
The business model of offering services through applications to improve the life and health of our patients is something we are developing. We are currently in a partnership with One Drop, collaborating on an application for diabetes. At the moment, the application is available only in the US. The application will go onto the market in Mexico next month. We are working on other innovative business models like apps that can detect heart failure by the tone of someone's voice.
EF: As one of the top employers in Mexico, what initiatives is Bayer taking to ensure you stay as a top employer?
DC: The culture of the company is an important factor. The culture at Bayer has a good balance between the employee's well-being and high performance. To remain relevant organizational culture should evolve and be enriched by its immediate environment and the evolution of society.
At Bayer, we reflect the society in terms of diversity and drivers of motivation because we are part of society. For new talents, their drivers of motivation may be a good salary, the company's flexibility, engagement with our purpose, or the possibility to make an impact with their ideas. Which other company can highlight how they are tackling two of the biggest challenges today, health and food? We work to have health for all and hunger for none. These are all tangibles.
When hiring, we want to know the candidate's purpose and what makes them happy. The basic motivator is understanding what makes people happy and fulfilled. When people are happy, they are highly productive.
EF: What is the difference in access to innovation between Brazil and Mexico, and how would you differentiate the meaning of access in each market?
DC: I have had the privilege to work in six different countries in my career. This experience has broadened my perspective. In my previous position, I was in charge of Brazil's access and commercial work. Bayer is working with other companies in the traders' association to make access possible. It is essential to sit and work with all the stakeholders, the medical community, and other players that can intervene to show that innovation does not come with an extra cost.
Usually, innovation saves and makes people's lives better. We must be flexible enough to adjust our value proposition to avail access to all patients. In Latin America, especially in Brazil and Mexico, many people depend on the public system to gain access. We must be innovative and creative enough to bring solutions that aid healthcare sustainability. The sustainability of healthcare is a lesson that healthcare systems worldwide learned from covid. Now we understand the impact that healthcare has on the economy.
EF: How do you think the Mexican healthcare system will gain access to innovation in the public and private sectors?
DC: If we want to continue scaling our business, we need to increase our public market share and understand the issues before us. We need to bring new innovative products to the general market that benefit all the stakeholders beyond market profit. The only way to make business in the public is to support the system's sustainability. To achieve this, we must develop treatments and products that add value to the market. In Latin America, especially the Mexican market, we must bring highly valuable products to improve patients' lives and contribute to the system's sustainability.
Covid happened, a paradigm change occurred, and companies adopted new business models. Digital transformation will change the way pharma companies and governments do business.
EF: What advice would you give to other women who want to pursue a career in healthcare and management in Latin America?
DC: It is always difficult to advise at any given moment. Raise your hand, raise your vote and raise your voice. Be proud of what you do. This is the moment to evolve in your leadership style. The leadership evolution we see in pharma and world leaders comes from adapting different skills. Some have compassion, empathy, and understanding of winning and losing, some understand and show vulnerability, and some have skills in overcoming barriers. Others can bring out the best in the people around them and find solutions.
Though this might be an overgeneralization, these skills are common among female leaders. It is the right moment to bring humility, positivity, and empathy together to lead into the future. Women are the heart of our population; we are there to show that we can also take on these roles.
EF: As you celebrate Bayer’s 100 years, what message would you like to send as a new general manager in Bayer?
DC: Establishing and successfully running a company for a hundred years in one country and establishing other long-standing branches worldwide is an incredible feat. It means the company could adapt and be flexible enough to offer solutions for all the problems in the community it was in. We are here to stay.
We are one of the top pharmaceutical companies with a more extensive footprint worldwide. We are present in a lot of lower to middle-income countries. We are present on all continents because Bayer's commitment is to the world. One hundred years from now, Bayer will still be there because we have a clear commitment to society. We also have the agility and the flexibility to react on time. We are here to react to the future, not the present.