Executive Vice President of Finance and Corporate Strategy, Sumitovant
Yuichi, you are the Executive Vice President of Finance and Corporate Strategy at Sumitovant. Tell us about your role in the company. What are your responsibilities?
The role I play at Sumitovant is managing the company’s finances, including financial planning, management of financial risks, and accounting and financial reporting, as well as helping the company develop and initiate plans for short- and long-term company goals.
Who are your closest internal partners in your role?
I have various internal partners, including, first. Myrtle Potter, our CEO, and other Executive Leadership Team members. Second, the five vants’ leadership teams. And third, my colleagues in the Finance and Corporate Strategy Group. The company strategic direction is formulated and implemented by our collective efforts, and I really enjoy interactions with those close partners and I have gained new perspectives through the interactions.
What do you think are the most significant challenges currently for the biopharma industry? What are the opportunities?
The biopharma industry is facing significant challenges to its fundamental business model: decline in R&D productivity and growing pricing pressure. The industry would not be able to sustain sufficient innovation to replace its products and revenues lost due to patent expirations.
However, new technological breakthroughs, such as regenerative medicines, gene therapy and immunotherapy, will become opportunities for the industry to bring further value to patients and society as a whole. Also, digital technologies will accelerate to realize holistic care and a change in the patient journey, and embracing digital technologies will be the key to long-term success.
In your opinion, what is the biggest impact Sumitovant can have on patients and the world?
Sumitovant is in a great position for success since we have two late-stage assets with great potential to address unmet medical needs, as well as novel, early-stage programs for orphan diseases and distinct digital technology platforms. I believe that our society will require more comprehensive, holistic healthcare solutions, and we will be able to contribute to making it happen through collaborative work with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma as well as Roivant.
Based on your past and current experience – and the trajectory you have observed – where will the bio-pharma industry be in the next 10 to 20 years?
I expect two major shifts will take place in the healthcare industry. The first one is the greater pressure on health care expenditures, which will require the bio-pharma industry to demonstrate greater value for their innovative therapies. The second one is that a shift from treatment to prevention, diagnostics and cure, will happen overtime, which will require the companies to evolve their business models. While companies will continue to spend on innovative therapies, more emphasis will be placed on partnership and collaboration not only with other bio-pharma companies but also different industries.
How will your role – and roles similar to yours – change along the way?
Given societal needs for more comprehensive, holistic healthcare, bio-pharma companies will be required to deliver more diversified solutions to patients and the society, which will require the company’s leadership members to bring more diversified perspectives.
Is there a leader who inspires you?
A leader I respect a lot is Mr. Akira Ohgi, a former head coach of Japan Major Baseball teams. He led a relatively short life as a player, but he assumed head coach positions at several teams since he was very serious with his team players but was a good-hearted person and excelled in maximizing the potential of various types of baseball players, including Ichiro Suzuki and Hideo Nomo, both of who played in the U.S. MLB later. In January 1995, there was the Kobe Earthquake with the death toll of approximately 6,400. His team – Orix Bluewave based in Kobe – put “encouraging Kobe” as a team slogan and won the championship in 1995, which cheered up Kobe citizens’ spirits.
In your opinion, what’s the most pressing societal issue we are facing in healthcare these days?
Under the current circumstances with COVID-19, it is important to stay ahead of the curve against disease outbreaks, especially when millions of lives are potentially at risk. Both the governments and the industry will need to focus on preparedness and preventative measures by investing in healthcare and infrastructure. Also, making healthcare accessible to everyone is another critical matter. The difference in regulations, including regulatory filing requirement and pricing rules, across countries would result in preventing the industry from bringing diversified therapies to patients, which should be addressed.