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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

MSD spin-off Organon launches as the only company of its size dedicated to women’s health

Health Industry Hub | June 3, 2021 |
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Pharma News: Organon today celebrates its launch as the only global company of its size focused on women’s health.

Nirelle Tolstoshev, Managing Director, Organon Australia, talked with Health Industry Hub regarding the company’s vision in women’s health, culture, strategy for growth and the company’s focus on women in leadership.

Health Industry Hub: Why was the Organon name chosen considering its history with the 2009 Schering-Plough acquisition?

Nirelle Tolstoshev, Organon, Managing Director Australia: There is such a great sentiment attached to the legacy Organon business. I’ve been out with customers in the last few weeks who all remember the Organon brand and they were really pleased to have us coming back. The name Organon means knowledge and investigation, linking nicely to curiosity and innovation which is the direction that we want to be heading.

Health Industry Hub: In your opinion, what are the biggest barriers facing women’s health in Australia and how will Organon contribute to better patient care?

Nirelle Tolstoshev: Women’s health is part of equity and equality for women in Australia. Healthcare is a key component as evidenced by the women’s health announcements in the recent Budget. There are unmet needs within many areas of women’s health. We want to be part of closing some of those gaps by bringing new innovations across our existing portfolio, which spans contraception, fertility, menopause, migraine, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Organon’s therapeutic areas either directly impact women, or like migraine as an example, disproportionately impact women.

Globally we will be the most focused company on women’s health and we are really proud to be embarking on this journey.

Complementing our existing portfolio, we will be looking at business development and innovations focused on women’s health.

We want our healthcare practitioner community to know our focus on women’s health and to choose to partner with us because we’re the leaders in this space.

Health Industry Hub: What is the company’s roadmap for innovation and sustainable growth in Australia?

Nirelle Tolstoshev: In Australia we have the full complement of the strategic pillars; contraception, fertility, biosimilars and our established brands business.

A lot of our growth will come from the biosimilars area. We’ll complement that with growth in the area of business development, and more specifically globally and locally we’re moving into the area of Femtech (technology focussed on women’s health) which really taps into the fact that women are very motivated about their health and are very likely to engage in technology such as wearable devices and apps.

Health Industry Hub: Organon is set to acquire Alydia Health – a commercial-stage medical device company focused on preventing maternal morbidity and mortality caused by postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) or abnormal postpartum uterine bleeding. How does this acquisition reflect future partnership and collaboration plans for Organon?

Nirelle Tolstoshev: This acquisition is a medical device in the area of Femtech. It’s very meaningful for patients because maternal bleeding during childbirth can impact about 10% of women and can result, in the extreme, in maternal death but can also lead to avoidable hysterectomy. In a portfolio based primarily on pharmaceutical products, it’s an example of the strategic intent of moving into other areas such as medical devices, locally and globally, that can really meet the needs of women’s health. We are putting women at the centre of our decision making by focussing on their needs.

Health Industry Hub: As a female leader, how will you inspire a culture where more women leaders can thrive in senior positions?

Nirelle Tolstoshev: Seventy (70%) of Organon’s global board is women. The diversity across the global board is unprecedented in the S&P 500 group of companies. It’s really been noticed across all measures of diversity.

The global executive leadership team is gender-balanced with 50% females on the team and my local leadership team includes 60% females. This will enable more robust decision making and it is better for business, a win-win all around.

What will I do personally is to continue on this journey. I have always been very passionate about enabling other women into leadership roles. I’ve often tapped peers and colleagues to say you are really capable, you can step into this. I think it’s in my DNA to build female leaders because I notice they need extra encouragement to build the confidence to step into these senior roles.

Globally, Organon has already launched a female development series to build a talent pool for managing directors converting intent into to action.

Health Industry Hub: How would you describe the company culture and what is the company’s vision locally with respect to enhancing diversity and inclusion?

Nirelle Tolstoshev: The servant leadership philosophy has been translated globally whereby the global teams serve the markets. Many of us in this industry are more commonly used to the markets serving global. This is flipped on its head at Organon. It is also a flat structure and non-hierarchical resulting in quicker decision making already.

Locally we have an amazing vibe with a focus on a ‘people first’ culture that talks to our employees, customers and patients. Our values are very simple and easy to remember.

One of our values is ‘belonging’ meaning we all belong. Another one is ‘own it’ which is around accountability and doing what you say you will do. ‘Keep moving’ encourages employees to keep moving into the future knowing that we’ll overcome the obstacles together. The last one is ‘rise together’ where we want everybody feeling heard and having a voice.

We have initiated discussions on the employee value proposition and how we look to evolve things around flexibility. So watch this space.

The amazing leadership team and the values we have is a great combination in building an amazing organisation with this mix.


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