On June 22nd 2010 Mark Altmeyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, spoke at the Leadership in Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology meeting. The purpose of this talk for Altmeyer was to discuss what is happening in the healthcare industry in the context of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical.
After describing Otsuka as a combination of eastern philosophies and western business values, Altmeyer went on to discuss a few of the long term goals of the company. One of these goals was for Otsuka to become a leading global pharmaceutical company.
Altmeyer went on to discuss how the business model has changed within the company. He continued that, in order to compete in the industry, the company recognized it needed to move away from being a minority partner, and gain the ability to commercialize products.
Altmeyer then spoke for a bit about the methods he used to help the company undergo such a transformation. The first order of business was to upgrade Otsuka’s commercial leadership ability. “I ended up consolidating leadership and expertise in one person to lead all of the sales forces and upgrade all of the capabilities in terms of what we needed both from a sales operations as well as the selling skills perspective.”
Turning to the marketing aspect of the company, Altmeyer stated that he once again believed that consolidation was necessary. “I felt the right principal for us as a small company was to consolidate marketing so that we had one person who was accountable for both global and domestic strategies, had the expertise, and leadership to make sure that the brands were getting the kind of direction and support they needed.”
In an effort to ensure that the company had the right medical strategies, as well as the right sales strategies, Altmeyer then re-located both of those facilities to Princeton, New Jersey, as opposed to having them in different places.
The next area of focus for the company, according to Altmeyer, was to make sure they had the sales force necessary to deliver against expectations. One of the ways this was done was to upgrade and expand Otsuka’s neuroscience sales force.
The second thing that needed to be done, according to Altmeyer, was to expand the hospital sales force in order to ensure success over the long term. This was followed by making strides to better understand the oncology market.
Altmeyer then detailed another area of focus for the company, which was to address the internal organization. This was done with an emphasis on improving efficiency and effectiveness. “To me, it became apparent that we were using a lot of our energy to just drive our internal processes and that we had a real opportunity to pull the organization forward and make some changes to reduce the amount of energy it takes just to get our internal work done.” Altmeyer added that he also concentrated on building the right amount of infrastructure for the amount of product that was expected.
Altmeyer then concluded the main portion of his speech by detailing some of the lessons he learned from this transformation experience. The first thing he mentioned was the importance of management directly speaking to every person impacted by the changes, and letting them know they were a valued member of the team. Altmeyer also said that he believes that being able to connect the work Otsuka does to knowing that they are helping patients deal with diseases is a huge motivating factor.
Altmeyer then took a question from the audience, which prompted him to talk about his personal responsibilities at Otsuka.