A Journey inside the Valley of Health

Five weeks at AAA, a Nasdaq molecular nuclear medicine company in the heart of the health valley – written by guest blogger, Stefano Piantoni.

For those prospecting a career in healthcare, Geneva is the place to be. Not only is the region a great place to work. Every morning on my trip from Lausanne to Geneva I admire the wonderful view of Lac Leman and the majestic Chablais Alps. The surrounding area is home to many pharmaceutical companies, supranational organizations (WHO, International Red Cross, Doctors without borders), startups, biotech research centers and universities. The concentration of healthcare companies in the region clearly earns its label as “health valley”.

Advanced Accelerator Applications is an international molecular nuclear medicine company headquartered in Saint Genis Pouilly, not far from CERN. It produces, distributes and commercializes diagnostic and therapeutic products to fight cancer. Upon joining the company for my CEP, I had the opportunity to tour the production facilities and the labs. Armed with my cleanroom suit and a radiation detector, I followed my guide behind the thick steel doors and lead shielded rooms. Together we explored product features and the synthesis process, a much-needed introduction for my assignment on inventory policy. My target is to balance working capital efficiency and stock coverage. In the Radiopharma business, the supplier portfolio is a strategic choice. Changes in product formulation and composition often require an update of the marketing authorization and need to be planned with sufficient notice.

In the Geneva offices, I am working with Heinz Mäusli (Group CFO), and Christine Fromont (AAA International CFO). The objective is to draft an M&A post integration plan and an asset management policy for the treasury department. I previously did not have exposure to the deal making process therefore my learning curve is steep, but I am delighted to take on the challenge. IMD equipped me with the resources to confidently deliver an informed opinion on the major critical issues.

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My learnings in a nutshell: a successful integration clarifies the merger rationale, appoints an integration team for rapid execution and manages both cultural and people aspects of the transition.

Professor Nuno’s classes on capital markets come in handy when proposing an investment policy. Stratifying cash needs and selecting a diversified asset portfolio with the desired risk/return are the key success factors. Together with Heinz and Christine, we review my findings, compare their experience with best practices and plan AAA’s way forward.

The future does look rosy indeed. The same week AAA resubmitted a New Drug Application to the US FDA and obtained a positive recommendation from a committee of the European Medicine Agency for a lead product. It is my pleasure to join team celebrations on the recent success. Congratulations to everyone who worked on the project!

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