Accord Unveils New Ventures After A Year Of Change
Major Moves Seen As EMENA Chief Paul Tredwell Sets Out Vision For The Company
A year after taking up the lead for Accord in the EMENA region, Paul Tredwell talks to Generics Bulletin in detail about the changes that he has already overseen in the role, as well as unveiling a number of new business initiatives, acquisitions and appointments that form part of his long-term growth strategy.
Accord Healthcare can be proud of its record of industry recognition, especially following an impressive quadruple win at this year’s Global Generics & Biosimilars Awards 2022 that included the firm being crowned as global company of the year (see sidebar).
Binish Chudgar, vice chairman and managing director of parent Intas Pharmaceuticals, said he was “delighted with the growth trajectory of Accord Healthcare and how this has been recognized within the industry with the latest awards wins, particularly global company of the year. My heartfelt congratulations goes out to everyone at Accord Healthcare.”
But the company shows no signs of resting on its laurels, according to the latest detailed update provided by Paul Tredwell, who took over as Accord’s executive vice-president for the Europe, Middle East and North Africa region a little over a year ago, coming to the position after previously serving as Accord’s EMENA chief of specialty brands. (Also see "Who’s Hired? Accord’s Burt Moves On" - Generics Bulletin, 8 Jul, 2021.)
Now, in an exclusive three-part interview with Generics Bulletin, Tredwell has set out his long-term vision for the business, revealing new initiatives, acquisitions and appointments that are expected to underpin Accord’s long-term strategy and allow it to maintain its historical high growth rates.
Coming into the job in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tredwell acknowledged that first of all, “the big problem facing everyone at that time was probably increasing turnover of staff,” with “a huge amount of people moving throughout the industry.”
“Our [staff] turnover actually went up to around 20%, which was not unusual in the sector at the time,” Tredwell observed. “But it was a lot higher than we’ve ever been used to.”
“So, our immediate priority was people,” he indicated, with the firm ultimately stabilizing staff turnover at around 9% over the past 12 months. “And we’ve done it a number of ways,” he outlined, driving internal promotions, offering mentoring and coaching, bringing a focus to the development of skills for managers and their teams, attracting talent from within the industry and more widely from other sectors.
“We are a growing business, and our overall headcount has increased by just under 10% to fulfil elements of our strategy moving forward,” Tredwell added.
This, he explained, was part of maintaining Accord’s “industry leading” compound annual growth rate of 37% over the past five years. And “to continue significant growth, you’ve got to manage headcount in a sustainable way.”
“People for me over the last 12 months has been the real key driver. That’s something that we’ve really focused and how we can continue to develop our talent even further.”
‘Deep Dive’ Re-Examined Accord’s Business Fundamentals
Following the initial focus on people, Tredwell noted, “we then took a deep dive into our business. We’ve got a great business, it’s grown extremely well, but to keep it growing it was vital to go into the minutiae of detail.”
“We spent four months analysing our entire business, across every country, every competitor. We looked at everything from customer base to intellectual property to pricing to competitiveness in the marketplace, and it drew out some key aspects that we had to address in the future.”
The approach taken to refocusing the business was “more of an evolution than a revolution,” Tredwell said, noting that Accord’s three core pillars would remain, comprising its focus on the retail sector; its hospitals offering in parenterals with an oncology focus; and its portfolio of branded treatments.
“We looked at the points of leverage in each market, and how we take that growth strategy forward,” Tredwell recalled. “As of today, we've taken a leading portfolio position, we now have the biggest amount of CP’s (Centralized Procedures) of any company in Europe, the growth of our targeted portfolio is exceptional.”
“We are being bold and saying, we’ve done the analysis, we know where we’re going. We’ve got a very distinct plan.”
“One of the things we looked at was the fact that where other companies have been successful is geographical expansion,” Tredwell outlined. “Where we have the portfolio, you need the platform, at Accord this is substantial now. We have around 600 commercially facing sales and marketing [in our] commercial front end.”
“We have now launched an affiliate in Hungary, so that makes 25 countries in which we have our own affiliates within Europe; and we will have people in two other countries by the close of this current year. Taking Accord from 24 affiliates to a presence across 27 countries.”
Talking about the move into having a direct presence in certain markets, Tredwell said that “where we have used distribution channels to great success and continue to do so, in some key geographies we’re actually now cementing our presence and setting up direct Accord offices.”
And “that’s at a time where I think a lot of companies are stepping back, given the incredibly challenging environment we are working in. We are being bold, we’ve done the analysis, we know where we’re going. We’ve got a very distinct plan to roll out into those countries.”
Asked whether Accord’s large portfolio and experience in existing markets allowed it to expand geographically more easily than rival firms, Tredwell said “on the one hand yes, we’ve got the portfolio, and we have the experience in 25 countries directly. However, it’s also useful to lever experience of others in distinct disease areas and geographies. With most of the acquisitions now bedding-in and built out effectively, we can also look to take another step forwards through acquisition to re-enforce geographies, and our core franchise areas.”
Along with direct geographic expansion, he outlined, “we also are looking at increasing some of our partnership approach moving forward as well. We are actively pursuing plans to launch our portfolio across all our geographies though our affiliates and partners, with a particular focus on our oncology portfolio and a wealth of new product launches.”
Aiming To Match Strength In Hospital Channel With Retail Outside UK
Moving on to discuss Accord’s various different business areas, he observed that “as most people are aware, we’re already the number one supplier of generic oncology injectables, supplying about 30% of all generic chemotherapy across the region.”
“We’re also the number one in terms of supply to hospitals in the UK, Ireland, Italy, and Spain.” And “we’re also top five in the majority of other European countries. Hospital is a very strong pillar for Accord.”
Alongside this, “we have the retail segment, where we’re the number one supplier of generic medicines in the UK – about one in five generic medicines come from Accord. That’s approximately a million packs on average per day that we ship to the National Health Service in the UK, so [we are] one of the biggest suppliers to the NHS.”
However, Tredwell acknowledged, “in the rest of Europe on the retail segment, we’re not quite as strong.” This was, he said, “an area that we looked at in depth, in our strategic analysis, it’s always been fairly tough to get into the retail segment across Europe.”
“But, where we’re successful in the UK, one of the most competitive markets in the region, there’s a lot of learnings that we can leverage, we’ve got the portfolio, a proven business model and innovative digital assets. Retail in Europe is a concrete growth target for us.”
Stemming from this, Tredwell revealed, “to support us to fulfil our growth trajectory we have restructured our commercial team. Whereas we had one commercial leader previously, we now have split the role into two, effectively splitting the region, with the aim of a more focused approach, analysing in more detail each pillar by country.”
“I’m delighted to say that [former Glenmark and Sintetica executive] Jamie Sparrow has joined us to run the more northern part of that region. Bringing in Jamie gives us a huge amount of his experience from multiple companies in the past, including specializing in the retail segment.”
“And alongside our philosophy of promoting people internally, Xavier Mesrobian will be also stepping up to a role as the cluster head in Europe. And that allows us to give more attention and support to the markets looking at all three pillars.”
Pushing Branded Business Further With NCEs
Moving on to the third pillar of Accord’s business – specialty brands – Tredwell acknowledged that this was “already a very well-developed part and pillar of the business.”
“We’ve consistently had over 50 specialty products to launch within the next three years. And that still stands.”
“We continue to push that even further. he suggested, “with Accord getting into the space of NCEs (new chemical entities) showcased by our recent deal with Myovant in the field of prostate cancer” (see sidebar).
“Everything we do has always been to make it better. We want to take the next step now, which is us moving further into a speciality arm in terms making it better for patients.”
“Our continued focus on key in-house and in-license therapy areas allows us to have a complete, differentiated, high quality yet affordable portfolio to support both healthcare professionals and patients, whether that’s the launch of generic entrants across Europe, to supporting physicians and patients with new options in prostate cancer.”
“One of Accord’s keys strengths is we’ve got both our in-house pipeline as well as a very structured in-licensing team that are bringing new products to bear.”
New UK Biopharma Lab Planned
Tredwell also set out plans for a biopharmaceutical facility in the UK. “In our office, just on the outskirts of London, we’ve now converted sections into an early-stage biologics manufacturing facility,” he described. “That is designed to look at the CMC (chemistry manufacturing and controls) analytics phase of making biosimilars initially.”
“We’re already working on the early-stage CMC; we’ll then look at ADCs (antibody drug conjugates) shortly afterwards, and then later, six to 10 years down the line as a business we aim to be moving into novel biologics.”
This was “another considerable investment into the UK,” he highlighted, “a multi-million-pound investment just outside London.”
“Within the laboratory we’re also investigating mRNA platform technology,” he added. “Again, that’s very much with our oncology hat on.”
“So short term, we are working on our biosimilars portfolio, to ensure we have robust early-stage analytics to support a likely reduction in patient trial requirements in coming years. To ensure a robust biosmilar application incremental analytics is required. We are now well placed to provide this, through both our India and UK based R&D facilities.”
Agility Will Allow Accord To Seize New Opportunities
On top of these major developments, Tredwell added, Accord was also “bringing a new steriles line on, something we've been working on throughout COVID in the UK in Fawdon,” and boosting manufacturing capabilities to offer a European advantage with the major acquisition of a manufacturing site in Greece.
“This allows to bring packaging, manufacturing, blistering and test & release to Europe. In addition to our two UK sites and capabilities in India, offering us to market supply, and robust, resilient and flexible manufacturing and supply chain.”
“This acquisition also allows us to effectively enter that retail segment. It is expected that this will build over and above our existing distribution,” he elaborated, “with a lot more ease on local to market shipping, not only from all our European sites, but also our sites in India and other third party sites.”
Underlining that all of these developments had come in the last 12 months, Tredwell emphasized that “this is a big shift of the business. The team have done a huge amount of work, from people to targeting new business segments, all this without impacting the growth trajectory of the base business.”
Summing up the company’s strategy, he said “we’re looking at other opportunities now to stay ahead of the competition.” These opportunities were out there, he maintained, “but you’ve got to have the courage, to be nimble and agile and as a company and be brave enough, as Accord have been, to take advantage of them.”
“So that agility over the last 12 months, that’s seen Accord take another step further on, and be brave enough to take those steps, despite the inflationary pressures, we’re still pushing on with our business plans and investing significantly within our region, and importantly maintaining the industry-leading growth trends.”
In the second and third parts of this interview, Tredwell discusses Accord’s portfolio in more detail, as well as addressing political and regulatory issues across the EMENA region. (Also see "Accord Sees Benefits From Unique Portfolio" - Generics Bulletin, 6 Apr, 2023.) (Also see "Accord EMENA Chief Says Industry Is Pushing Back On Pressures" - Generics Bulletin, 11 Apr, 2023.)