General manager of Roche Erik Lundgren.

Roche GM Lundgren: The Czech Republic is ideal for innovative solutions

Roche has a long-standing focus on investing in innovations that bring greater efficiency to healthcare. One of its main goals is to change the way healthcare is delivered. „I believe that personalised healthcare approaches in personalised medicine are a critical part of the answer to the challenges in healthcare today,“ said Erik Lundgren, general manager of ROCHE Ltd, at the second annual Technology and Innovation in Healthcare Summit of the Healthcare Daily.

The world’s largest biotech company, a pioneer in personalised healthcare, has invested nearly 14 billion Swiss francs (15,3 billion USD) in research and development. „Our close strategic partnerships across the Group give us a rich diversity of expertise and scientific thinking, as we seek to discover and develop solutions to the biggest questions in healthcare today. Roche’s long-term focus is mainly on investments in innovations that bring more efficiency to healthcare,“ Lundgren presented at the summit.

From left: director of Zentiva Boris Sananes, director of Roche Erik Lundgren, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, publisher of the Healthcare Daily Ivo Hartmann and director of VZP Zdeněk Kabátek.

Roche is active in rare diseases and oncology. It is seeking agreements with health insurers and other stakeholders as well. „I am really excited about what is possible because of the capabilities and the qualities of the system in the Czech Republic. We all need to come together to put some investments in place now to move forward so that when we look back ten years from now… we can say we were ready for it,“ he stressed. He also added that the scientific capacity and data that the Czech Republic has should be used for creating a sustainable healthcare environment.

But the concept of personalised healthcare is not just about cancer treatment. It is also applied to genetic and neurological diseases or infectious and autoimmune diseases.

The Healthcare Daily’s Summit auditorium.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala delivered the opening speech at the summit.

Data needs to be linked and cultivated within the Czech Republic and across the EU

Personalised healthcare is supported by a range of technologies and approaches that are very diverse. From genome sequencing in cancer cells to artificial intelligence algorithms. „It brings to light the importance of this approach in (treatment of) rare conditions… We already see a big credit in the Czech system for passing Act 48 last year, which has created a new pathway for orphan drugs to gain access for reimbursement,“ Lundgren pointed out.

The general manager of Roche mentioned that there are about 26 million people suffering from rare diseases in Europe and there are about 5,000 different identified rare conditions. The only way to tackle this arising problem is to innovate, he believes. „We need to bring those innovations forward but do so in a sustainable and responsible manner so that we maintain the integrity of the overall healthcare infrastructure and system. Rare diseases aren’t going to be so rare and we have to be able to handle that. It’s incredibly important that the tools are in place and the investments are made now to support that future state. So that we can make sure that those interventions are going to the right people, that they’re working and that we’re evaluating them so that we can avoid wasteful spending,“ Lundgren stressed. 

According to him, there is also a need to advance the data infrastructure in the country: „We are amazing at collecting data and we have incredible data scientists… We need to be able to drive clinical outcome-based risk-sharing reimbursement models so that we can have new treatments and therapies.”

Erik Lundgren described the Czech Republic as an active partner in innovation.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, publisher of the Healthcare Daily Ivo Hartmann and Roche’s GM Erik Lundgren shortly before the beginning of the summit.

World-class scientists and world-class institutions. The Czech Republic as a „hotbed“ of innovation

„Most of the clinical trials we see in the Czech Republic are a wonderful foundation for research and advancement of our understanding of disease and particularly treatments,“ Lundgren said, adding that the Czech Republic is one of the leaders in clinical data collection and processing. „There are over 1,200 active clinical trials happening in this country, that’s amazing. It is a perfect place to, not only participate in, but drive innovation and to really shape how we tackle issues that effect all of us for the next thirty or forty years… The talent is here, the capabilities are here and the institutions are here,“ he concluded.


Photo by Radek Čepelák

The Healthcare Daily would like to thank Roche, Zentiva, ORCZ, Medtronic, Medicalc, Novartis, Alk, Akeso, EUC, MyCom, Satum and the health insurance companies VZP, ZP MV and RBP for their support of the summit.