Takeda is one of the Gold Sponsors for this year’s Park Annual event. We caught up with Sanna Venetvaara, Head of Centre of Excellence Innovation Nordics, and Vatroslav Mateljic, General Manager Sweden, to talk about the global pharma company’s engagement in the event and about this year’s theme: sector convergence.
What’s the best part of your jobs?
Vatro: For me personally, I’m honored and privileged to have the opportunity to influence and make a difference in Sweden when it comes to Takeda’s focus on our patients, our partners and our people. It is a very enjoyable experience, especially for me, living and working in a different culture than where I’m originally from [Croatia].
Sanna: For me, it’s extremely exciting to have the opportunity, at a company such as Takeda, to lead a centre of excellence that is focused on innovation and delivering value beyond medicines.
Why did Takeda choose to be a gold sponsor for this year’s Park Annual event?
Sanna: Sahlgrenska Science Park and Region Västra Götaland are playing a pivotal role in driving the cross-sectorial discussion about innovation and digitalization. This aligns well with the purpose of Takeda’s Nordic Innovation Hub, which aims to connect digital innovators and healthcare entrepreneurs to create solutions that can benefit patients across the world.
Vatro: Takeda has enjoyed a long and successful collaboration with Sahlgrenska Science Park. For example, we co-arranged ‘Lunchlådan’ for a couple of years, which led to very fruitful discussions and ideas relating to the possibilities and hurdles that come with new innovations in healthcare. So, we’re pleased to be able to deepen our relationship by sponsoring the Park Annual event.
The theme of the event is Sector Convergence. What does Sector Convergence mean to you/Takeda?
Vatro: For me, a key success factor to ensure sustainable, value-based healthcare is to build cross-sector collaboration. We will not achieve our ambition to deliver better health and a brighter future through silo-driven, stand-alone activities. Based on new perspectives and approaches, and inspired by areas such as AI-driven integrated care, predictive care and personalized treatment pathways, we can co-create holistic solutions that deliver added value and added benefit to patients and society.
Sanna: We can learn a lot by taking an outside-in-perspective. For example, we are currently co-developing an AI-driven ‘Predict & Prevent’ sustainable healthcare solution, where we have learnt that there are algorithms in other industries that can guide the development of similar algorithms in our industry. We can learn a lot from each other –between healthcare partners, between industries, between companies and between institutions. We need to learn that it is a good thing to share ideas. Another point I’d like to make is that we see digitalized and AI-driven solutions as having an exciting potential to be upscaled more efficiently to help patients in countries with limited resources and infrastructure.
Can you share some examples of how you are bringing different sectors, fields and people together to inspire innovation and collaboration?
Vatro: Close collaboration with the county councils in Sweden is key for us. We are discussing opportunities with all the regions how we can introduce and evaluate new innovations, e.g. through seminars and involvement in seminars and/or involvement in think tanks such as Multi Helix in Lund. Here, we have both local and Nordic functions involved so that we can share learnings and inspiration from across the Nordics. The Nordic countries are one of the most innovative places in the world for finding new solutions that can bring added value to health care.
Sanna: We try to co-create and adapt innovation approaches from all possible sectors, and then work to make these innovations accessible for patients. One example I’d like to highlight is our collaboration with Microsoft and EURODIS-Rare Diseases Europe through which we have created the Global Commission to End the Diagnostic Odyssey for Children with a Rare Disease. This is a great example of sector convergence that harnesses the power of technology to address the diagnostic challenge for patients living with a rare disease.
What challenges and opportunities do you see when it comes to developing the life science industry in Sweden?
Vatro: A big opportunity to develop the life science industry in line with the Swedish government’s national life science strategy is to facilitate access to health data, which will help speed up and improve the development of AI algorithms that rely on underlying data. Also, as I previously mentioned, we are very keen to develop new opportunities to engage with the county councils to collaborate, co-create and implement new solutions that lead to better health. From my perspective, one of the challenges where we can work together to improve is the alignment between the county councils so that good solutions can be more easily implemented nationally if they have been successfully evaluated on a regional level.
The COVID pandemic has turned our lives and our work upside down over the past months. What learnings or positive experiences do you think we might be able to take with us moving forward?
Vatro: The pandemic has definitely changed our ways of working. From a technological perspective, there has not necessarily been a huge jump forward when it comes to available solutions. Rather, it is the acceptance of new technologies and the organizational “savviness” that have taken big strides forward.
Sanna: Another important aspect is that patient preferences have changed significantly during the pandemic. For example, when it comes to the demand for homecare solutions. We won’t be going back to the old normal. Instead, we are entering a “new exceptional.” So, we need to understand the changes that have taken place, and build future innovations on demand and acceptance.
Tune in at www.parkannual.com to see the online Life Science-event Park Annual. Programme, speakers, quiz and chat via LinkedIn can be found on the site.
Park Annual Gold Sponsors