FERNANDO SAMPAIO

Mexico 2021 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

Mexico is one of the top priorities for Sanofi, and it will continue to work and invest to remain an ally of the public and private health sectors.

Fernando Sampaio
BIOGRAPHY

Fernando Sampaio has a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry and with Sanofi. He has a master's in science and a specialty in marketing. He also studied at the Harvard Business School. Within Sanofi, he has worked as director general of DVC and GEM in Portugal and was director general in Brazil, among other roles. He was previously part of Laboratorios. Abbott and Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Aché in Brazil as sales representative.

Can you elaborate on your six-year plan, Play to Win, and the role Mexico plays in it?

This is a new strategy of the Sanofi group at a global level. We implemented it over the last year, and it changes the main pillars of the group and establishes some new strategic goals. With this plan, we are heavily focused on some key elements of our group. We have four business units, including one for vaccines: Sanofi-Pasteur. There are also three other business areas: general medicines, Sanofi Genzyme, for high specialty healthcare; and CHC, for over-the-counter products. In terms of our role in the global strategy, Mexico is among the 10 most important countries in for Sanofi worldwide. In Mexico, we can collaborate with the health sector on many different levels. We have a presence in the units for general medicine and Genzyme, which is focused on highly specialized products. We also have a presence with the consumer division. Meanwhile, we are making investments in the country. We already have two plants in Mexico: one in Ocoyoacac for pharma products and healthcare goods; and another exclusively for vaccines. Right now, we are building our third plant in Mexico, our second plant for vaccines. We also have products for chronic diabetes, which is the largest threat to health in Mexico. Our participation in that segment is important because we have a portfolio of products with different alternatives for patients with diabetes type one or two. We also brought to the country the first monoclonal antibody for patients with severe atopic dermatitis and asthma. We also offer several medicines for rare diseases and some types of cancer.

You have a program called Proyecto Azteca with the Ministry of Health. Can you explain some of the developments of this project?

We have been present in Mexico for more than 90 years, almost a century. Before we talk about Proyecto Azteca, it is important to understand the country, its needs, and its permanent challenges. Proyecto Azteca is a partnership with the Ministry of Health that has been ongoing for 10 years. First, this agreement is an industrial alliance. We have invested almost EUR130 million to develop a plant in Cuautitlán, where we will manufacture the flu vaccine. We expect to produce a 100% Mexican vaccine against influenza, which will translate into having a more affordable product that can be developed quicker and help protect the population. The project includes the construction of the plant and the transfer of the technology to develop the vaccine in Mexico. The contract includes a commercial agreement to provide part of the vaccines. The government will ensure some of the lowest prices in the world for the flu vaccine. We are extremely proud of this project, and we are moving faster than expected. We built the plant in 2019, and it has more than 10,000sqm. In 2020, we installed the machinery, electronics, and other equipment, and we expect to start developing the vaccine so we can submit it for the usual regulatory approval. Once the authorities approve it, we will start manufacturing the vaccine.

Why did you decide to make such an important investment in Mexico?

We worked hard to develop this plant in Mexico. There were many countries that wanted this investment, and not only in Latin America. However, Mexico is one of the most important countries in the world for vaccines. Not only it is in the top 10 most important countries for Sanofi, but it is in the top three for Sanofi Pasteur. We have a deep relationship with Mexico, and there is great confidence in the Mexican market. There are many things to consider when deciding to make such an investment. We have decades of experience working in the country, so we had great trust in the country. That profound relationship was an important factor when deciding to invest in Mexico.