The benefits and opportunities in India are multi-faceted for AstraZeneca. While there is a growing young population that is becoming increasingly urbanised and has embraced and accelerated digitalisation, there are also trends in health that need to be addressed. There is a higher proportion of the population with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and the country unfortunately, has among the highest rates of diabetes globally. Combined, these factors mean AstraZeneca can make a real impact in advancing therapeutic solutions through innovation and trying to alleviate the pressures on the healthcare system, all while being innovative and disruptive.

The growth and importance of the pharmaceutical market in India is set to continue with forecasts suggesting that by 2022 the market will be worth USD 26 billion. This growth is recognised by both public and private stakeholders in the market.

By partnering with Business Sweden, we can join our strengths and work seamlessly with the government and relevant companies to accelerate innovation in the healthcare sector. Deepak Arora, Director - Market Access & Commercial Strategy, AstraZeneca

While AstraZeneca has strong on-the-ground teams who examine the market, understand the dynamics and business drivers, partner with external stakeholders that have the capabilities and reach to help with expansion, the challenge remained on how to engage and partner with the public sector, an important player in the health ecosystem for accelerating innovation. Business Sweden’s ability to understand the local environment and connect stakeholders from the private and public coupled with expertise in innovation and growth strategy are cornerstones of the working relationship with AstraZeneca.

Deepak Arora, Director - Market Access & Commercial Strategy at AstraZeneca explains:

“We require unbiased expertise and a deep understanding of the public health system and its stakeholders for enabling better outcomes across the patient journey from prevention to post treatment and wellness. By partnering with Business Sweden, we can join our strengths and work seamlessly with the government and relevant companies to accelerate innovation in the healthcare sector; and they also bring their expertise in innovation ideation from start-ups to big picture pieces like the Innovation Centre.”

AstraZeneca has a goal to look beyond sales and marketing, to connections and partnerships that can be part of a catalyst in the healthcare ecosystem by bringing disruptive and innovative solutions to improve patient outcomes. And in India, AstraZeneca is driving this as the knowledge partner of the India Sweden Healthcare Innovation Centre led by Business Sweden. The Centre’s vision is to create impact by enabling the innovators to go from ideation to execution with guidance and support from stakeholders, including the central government.

To really maximise the depth of expertise and potential of the innovation project, AstraZeneca and Business Sweden have become active partners. As part of one team, they connect with the internal business units of different therapeutic areas while also identifying potential partners, both public and private, to drive collaboration and innovation.

Arora says:

“We have a structured core team with Business Sweden setting up and heading a project management office in the form of a control tower – this also includes people from our own team. Together, the team focuses on delivering common goals and milestones on a day-to-day basis and we connect weekly to update on our ambition to deliver healthcare innovation in the area of NCDs in India.”

The partnership project is making connections at a state and government level and have already looked at the model of putting together a centre of excellence in the state of Maharashtra. The centre would be focused on cardiovascular and diabetes segment, creating a paperless patient pathway, collecting data to generate real world evidence. The ambition is to not only improve individual patient outcomes but to collectively use the data to replicate the model to help the provision of state health.

The focus on both disease management and prevention is high on the agenda, as Arora points out:

“With the help of artificial intelligence, we can get an early diagnosis and create a targeted approach to that disease, or to that specific patient. Both disease management and prevention are equally important, and this can be achieved with this model.

“This is just the short-term of three to four years, and we have a lot of work to do. The next step will be to mushroom this around the country and how we can establish the concept and pass the baton on to government and the state to benefit the entire state health.”

 

Challenge

Despite being a pharma giant with a solid foundation in India, AstraZeneca wanted to accelerate growth, but with a primary focus on innovation. To have a long-term, sustainable impact, AstraZeneca needed to partner with public sector to strengthen the Indian healthcare system towards a patient centric and outcome driven approach.

Solution

AstraZeneca and Business Sweden have partnered to co-innovate through the Innovation Centre, bringing together stakeholders including from the start-up ecosystem, central government, national healthcare providers (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi and Jodhpur), Swedish players and healthcare policy makers. A holistic view of innovation is taken which includes technology, data, protocols and processes, skill development and business models. This long-term partnership looking at solutions that will make a change in the healthcare community and improve patient outcomes.

Result

The partnership is arranged under the India-Sweden Healthcare MOU between the countries with the Indian Minister for Health recognising and attending the launch of the Innovation India Sweden Innovation Centre in December 2019. The Innovation Centre have also begun working with other Swedish companies and universities to develop innovation solutions and leverage real-world data.

 
About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca India was established in 1979 and is headquartered at Bengaluru, Karnataka and is a subsidiary of the global AstraZeneca Plc, UK. AstraZeneca Pharma India Limited (AZPIL) is the operating company and covers manufacturing, sales and marketing activities of the company in India. It has a workforce of over 1400 employees across the country that is committed to delivering life-changing medicines to patients through innovative science and global excellence in development and commercialisation.

AstraZeneca and Business Sweden have a global working relationship. In APAC, this includes assignments in India, China, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar and Indonesia, while in EMEA the focus is in Ireland, Russia, Portugal, Germany, the UK, and France.