By Ed Miseta, Chief Editor, Clinical Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @EdClinical
Daniella Kranjac is no stranger to leadership. She was co-founder and VP of Wave Biotech for eight years before joining GE Healthcare in 2007 as an integration leader and head of commercial operations. In the eight years since, she has moved into positions of increasing responsibility, including senior strategic marketing leader, business development director, and her current position as global head of evaluation & offering in Enterprise Solutions. With a BE in chemical and biochemical engineering, and an executive MBA in strategy, leadership, and entrepreneurship, she has a thorough understanding of both the science and business sides of biopharma. She is also membership committee chair for the New York Metro chapter of Women in Bio.
I was able to catch up with Kranjac to discuss her position with GE Healthcare and the trends she sees occurring in the biologics market.
Ed Miseta: Tell us about your position with GE Healthcare.
Daniella Kranjac: I work in our Enterprise Solutions group focused on business development, product management and commercial operations delivering integrated biomanufacturing facility solutions for the development and production of biologics globally. We bring together tools, technologies, services, and engineering to help enable our customers' production capabilities in both developed and emerging markets for biosimilars, vaccines, and other biologics.
I work closely with large biopharma, small biotech, ministries of health, and emerging market players to understand their challenges in specific markets. Our team then develops solutions from business concept validation, facility design to facility set up, and workforce development and education. We draw on our strong internal and external network of partners to help customers execute and enter markets in new and innovative ways to help lower the overall risk and investment costs.
I’ve been involved in both business development and program/product management and offering side to develop these opportunities. Business development entails mapping and understanding a market and its players in depth, and devising a strategy to uncover and deliver new opportunities for our business.
Miseta: What are some of the trends and challenges you currently see clients having to deal with?
Kranjac: I believe some of the biggest trends in this space relate to a few main drivers. The first is the growing demand for biologics in growing economies such as Brazil, China, and Turkey. These regions are seeing an increased trend in diseases such as diabetes, cancers, and rheumatoid arthritis and governments and health ministries are looking for more affordable ways to provide treatments. In addition, a growing middle class in many regions is giving rise to additional healthcare needs in terms of delivery, accessibility and affordability of biologic therapies aimed at these diseases. Going right in line with this trend are some government initiatives to establish localized production of biologics.
Second is the increase in titers resulting in lower volumes in bioprocessing and the wide adoption of single-use technologies for innovative and biosimilar molecules, all of which allow for smaller footprint and more compact manufacturing facilities.
Third, given the first driver, is managing and evolving an established manufacturing footprint or scaling appropriately for anticipated future growth in both new and established markets. In some cases, incentives for local production are encouraging a shift to smaller, more flexible production facilities in-country or in-market. In other cases, the attraction is linked to the ability to be an early mover in-market.
Miseta: Are companies recognizing these trends early enough to properly act on them?
Kranjac: In many cases yes, and of course we are there to try and help them. In other cases, it may be a more recent evolution of their market or manufacturing strategy due to observed and competitive pressures, and being part of those discussions at an early stage together with the customer helps inform our solutions offering to be really differentiated. What’s important in our space is the vision to spot those trends as early as possible and identify when a major shift is coming. This is really centered on employing single-use and disposable technologies, and largely, that trend continues on. What’s been important is having the courage and imagination to act on those shifts, and develop product offerings that really bring significant value to the customer. This enables customer to change the construct of conventional manufacturing strategies and move to smaller, decentralized production facilities and in-market for-market manufacturing.
Miseta: Are we seeing the adoption of more flexible facilities?
Kranjac: Definitely, the flexible facility approach has been a key development and is being employed by more and more customers as they increasingly are planning for multi-product facilities with smaller production volumes in a decentralized format. This applies to large biopharma and small biotech alike to help manage inherent risk in bringing a biologic to market. There is also a need for new and creative ways of working to supply customers seeking to enter global and emerging markets. For us, it means identifying those trends and then developing a deep understanding of customer needs. Only then can we respond with creative solutions that will drive the desired outcomes.
Seeing these trends unfold from the late 1990’s until now really gives a great sense of perspective on how great the achievements in this space have been, particularly enabling for increased access to critical medicines in emerging markets. Single-use technologies have largely made this shift both possible and economically feasible.
Miseta: What can women like you expect to get out of Women in Bio?
Kranjac: Women In Bio has been a great forum for sharing experiences, skills, best practices, and current trends in the market. WIB has grown my network substantially with men and women serving different functions industry, from private equity to legal to licensing and even health professionals. Connecting with other women in leadership positions has also been really helpful to understand how they have successfully navigated some of the challenges they faced during their careers.
Our Metro New York chapter organizes great events each month, from panel discussions and guest speakers to networking and social events. Our chapter just recently celebrated our one year anniversary with a fantastic event in January at the Pfizer headquarters, and we’ve got a lot more in store for 2015!
Click here for more news and events from the Metro New York Chapter of Women in Bio: http://www.womeninbio.org/wib-chapters/metro-new-york