We Conducted a Pleasant Interview with Mr. Cem Öztürk
We made an interview with Head of Foundation Sanofi Turkey, Middle East & Africa – Country Lead Sanofi Turkey Mr. Cem Öztürk about the sector and the company. Cem Öztürk told us how the pandemic went for the pharmaceutical industry and the work of the company. Happy reading.
Could you tell our readers about yourself?
I have graduated from Galatasaray University, Department of Business Administration in 1998. After graduation, I completed my MBA at Sorbonne University. Then I started my career in the banking industry in 2000. Since the day I joined Sanofi in 2002, I took several different leadership roles in the company’s country level and international organizations. I was appointed as CFO for Romania and Moldova in 2007 and worked for four years.
I returned to Turkey in 2011 as the Business Excellence Director. I took part in the management duties of Pharmacy Group Sales Team, Supply Chain, Hospital Group Key Units, respectively. In 2014, I was appointed as Specialist and Primary Care Business Unit Director and the Leader of Generic Divisions, taking on the responsibility of a team of 300 people.
In 2015, I was appointed as the General Manager of Bangkok, and Country Chair for Thailand and Myanmar with an overseas assignment. In 2018, I started to work as Sanofi Turkey Country Chair and General Manager. In 2019, the Levant region and Iran were added to my area of responsibility. And currently, I am working as Country Lead Turkey &
Foundation Community Head for Turkey, Africa & Middle East.
Could you tell us Sanofi’s activities in the sector and operation structure in Turkey?
We are a global company with a strong local footprint that contributes to the healthy future of Turkey, by investing, producing, and creating employment in the country. With our investment of over 1 billion dollars, we are the pharmaceutical company that makes the highest investment among the global pharmaceutical companies in Turkey.
We are the first company investing in the local production of vaccines in Turkey. At the same time, Turkey is the first Sanofi country with this kind of technology transfer. Thanks to this technology transfer in the field of vaccines, 68 million doses of combined childhood vaccines were produced in Turkey and 99% of children in Turkey were protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. This vaccine is also Turkey’s first biotechnology production in
Our manufacturing facility in Lüleburgaz is today the 3rd largest production facility in terms of its production capacity, among Sanofi’s 70 production centers worldwide, with a production capacity. Our factory alone met 15 percent of the total production of the Turkish pharmaceutical industry in 2021. We export 11 percent of our total production to 49 countries, including Germany, England, France, Australia and Japan. It is a great honor and happiness for us to contribute to our country’s economy by producing 86 percent of Sanofi Turkey’s product portfolio on a box basis in these lands.
Sanofi recently shared its renewed brand identity and purpose with the public. Can you share this transformation with us?
As Sanofi, we are going through an exciting corporate transformation. We introduced our new corporate brand, that supports the modernization and transformation of our company, for this we started to work in December 2019 and announced it to the whole world in February this year. This evolution represents our ambition to transform the practice of medicine, and our purpose to chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives.
In the last 50 years, we have made many discoveries that improve human life, from diabetes to cardiovascular diseases, from rare diseases to infectious diseases. For years, Sanofi’s commitment to public health has allowed hundreds of millions of people to be protected against the flu every year and polio to be eradicated from the face of the earth, while the company’s scientific vision enables it to offer innovative healthcare solutions for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
This transformation sends a powerful message about who we are and what we aim to achieve: We seek the miracles of science to improve human life. We know that new treatments for diseases are always possible, and we are never satisfied with the existing ones. We continue our activities with the belief that better treatments can always be discovered, with curiosity and with the desire to discover, always take the science forward.
You announced that with this renewal, you are gathering different departments and companies within Sanofi under one roof, right?
Yes, we have had a wide variety of cultures, identities and brands under our structure since our establishment. Sanofi’s new brand is based on this rich heritage and brings together its diverse history for the first time under a single common identity.
Accordingly, the company’s business unit Sanofi Pasteur, which focuses on vaccines, and Sanofi Genzyme, which focuses on specialty treatments, and all previously acquired brands are now combined under a single Sanofi name and brand. For many years, these brands have become symbols of the impact of innovation on human life.
Thinking and acting around a new common purpose and identity as one company, will put Sanofi in a position to more strategically direct its resources to produce key innovations, placing the company in a position that creates greater impact for patients.
With the COVID 19 pandemic, the importance of the pharmaceutical and vaccine industry has emerged once again. At this point, can you give some information about Sanofi’s work?
First of all, I must proudly say that; we have been one of the companies that have been at the forefront of every front in this struggle since the very first moment. Today, two-thirds of our medicines and vaccines are defined by the World Health Organization as medicines of vital importance.
During the pandemic, we continued our activities uninterruptedly at our production and distribution centers, especially our factory in Lüleburgaz and our Tuzla distribution center. Our global vaccine studies have also started actively from the very beginning of the pandemic process. One of these studies is to strengthen our forces with GSK for a common goal; It was our combination so that we could develop an adjuvant vaccine against
COVID-19 and produce enough for millions of people.
Sanofi and GSK have now applied for regulatory approval, presenting data from both the immunity-boosting booster vaccine and Phase 3 efficacy trials as the basis for regulatory filings for the COVID-19 vaccine. In parallel with these efforts, we continue to contribute to global public health needs by producing up to half a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for three pharmaceutical companies.
Could you tell us about the place of R&D in your general activities? What does R&D mean for Sanofi? How big is it? Is there a special R&D study that you expect to have a great impact in the coming period?
Sanofi, with its mission to improve human life, prioritizes the most critical health needs and allocates 15 percent of its worldwide sales to R&D every year. As of December 2021, our company’s R&D product range includes 91 projects, 34 of which are in Phase 3. The stages of our work are also shared transparently on Sanofi’s website.
How is Sanofi’s understanding of social responsibility shaped? Can you tell us about your social responsibility projects in Turkey?
We make Sanofi’s global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments come true in our country as well, and we continue our leading role in the field of CSR with great effort by saying #wecandomore. At Sanofi Turkey, sustainability is integrated into all our business priorities. Our new roadmap and commitments, shaped under the titles of Access to Healthcare, R&D for Unmet Needs, Healthy Planet and Inclusive Workplace, directly
contribute to 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals announced by the United Nations. We are well aware of the responsibilities of being a good corporate citizen.
As Sanofi Turkey, we contribute to the “continuity of health” with the aim of contributing to the solution of social problems with the corporate social responsibility programs we have been running for many years. With our Diabetes at School Program, which has marked its 11th year behind, we are working to increase the awareness of diabetes among students, parents and teachers, and to improve the quality of life of children with diabetes at schools. In addition, we also undertake studies on equal opportunities and education that will contribute to social development.
Our “Women Leaders of the Future” project, which we have been successfully running for 11 years in cooperation with KAGIDER, is one of them. Within the scope of the program, we have reached 1250 young women with our trainings and awarded the “Women Leaders of the Future” certificate. 92% of young graduates continue to climb their career path and make us proud by participating in business life.
What are your goals for sustainability? What are you doing in line with the carbon neutral target?
Supporting the ecological needs of our world is of great importance in our “Healthy Planet” title, which is one of our company’s sustainability priorities. By taking an important step in this direction in Turkey and as a result of our investments, we have switched to the use of 100% renewable electrical energy in our Lüleburgaz factory as of the beginning of 2020.
Then, we started to use 100% renewable electricity at Sanofi’s Tuzla Warehouse and
Sanofi Head Office. In order to minimize the environmental impacts of our operations and productions globally; To produce 100% blister-free vaccines by 2027, to use 100% ecological designs in all our new product packaging until 2025, to switch to 100% renewable energy sources in all our production facilities by 2030, and to make our vehicle fleet 100% carbon neutral by 2030, We set concrete targets.