2017 was full of key events for the Chiesi Group, which was able to achieve a series of successes in an extremely complex context, where our people worldwide once again demonstrated their commitment to ensuring the success of the company and their ability to tackle entirely new challenges.
Some of these events have had a significantimpact on our business: one example that comes to mind is Zyflo®, which is one of our flagship products in the USA and has experienced the effects triggered by the patent expiry in recent months. Another is the turbulent and volatile economic climate, which has led to the depreciation of a number of currencies fundamental to our business. Despite the fact that this devaluation totalled between 50 and 70 million Euro - a value which fluctuates depending on whether last year’s results or the budget are considered -, the Chiesi Group managed to almost completely absorb these losses and end the year with global sales for 1,686 million Euro, representing a growth of 7.2% on the previous year (+8.8% at constant exchange rates).
An extremely positive result, bearing testimony to the quality and excellence of the work done by more than 5,300 people who make up our team and who, in my opinion, also form the basis for an outstandingly successful and prosperous future for Chiesi.
Let’s take a closer look at our most important
2017 saw us open a new small affiliate in Iran and consolidate our presence in all the countries where we have affiliates or distributors. In Europe, we launched Trimbow®, our fixed triple association available for the first time in a single inhaler and indicated for the maintenance treatment of patients affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Trimbow® is already available in 8 countries, and by the end of 2018 will be present in a further 14. Regulatory approval for Trimbow® at European level represented an outstanding result for Research and Development, confirming the degree of efficiency and maturity reached by our team, which almost simultaneously carried out a series of international clinical trials involving around 8,000 patients in total.
Foster® (Spray and Nexthaler), indicated for the treatment of asthma and COPD, experienced growth rates of around 15%, gaining growing market shares in all countries. In some countries it is market leader, confirming the therapeutic value of its formulation. It reached sales totalling 667 million Euro, making it the best-selling Italian pharmaceutical product in the world.
Curosurf®, our life-saving drug used with premature neonates for the treatment or prevention of Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which has been on the market for more than 25 years, has continued to grow as surfactant world leader, and now comes with new devices aimed
at facilitating the administration of the drug. It is estimated that to date Curosurf has potentially saved the lives of over 4 million babies.
Clenil® is one of Chiesi’s historic products and has been well-established since its launch in Italy in 1979. It is indicated for the treatment of asthma, along with other inflammatory and allergic conditions, and forty years after it was introduced onto the market, continues to resist stiff competition and generics thanks to its growth in the emerging markets.
We have also completed several key acquisitions of products and innovative projects (in the USA, Italy and Europe), including an agreement with Horizon Pharma, a medium-sized American biopharmaceutical company, to purchase marketing rights in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) for Procysbi®, indicated for the treatment of nephropathic cystinosis, and Quinsair™, indicated for cystic fibrosis sufferers. The acquisition of these rights for Procysbi and Quinsair has further strengthened our rare disease product portfolio, a sector to which we are strongly committed.
2017 therefore made a significant contribution to strengthening the company’s competitiveness within the scope of our strategic objectives, which are based on seven main pillars: Sales, Geographical areas, Therapeutic areas, Research and Development, Production, Human Resources and Business Objectives.
2018 and the years to come will present
just as many challenges and complexities. Three strategic elements that are in my view fundamental will drive our growth: innovation, internalization and people.
Innovation represents a decisive push for the company towards the future: scientific research will drive its path in the direction of new therapies and care models that are now becoming established. A future where technology will also have an increasing impact on both patient care and therapy management, yet also on the way we work and see our working areas organised differently. Innovation will also play a role in the management of new challenges in the future, in a world evidently destined to become ever more complex.
Internationalization, as today we are, and will become even more so in the future, an international company not only in terms of geographic presence but also in terms of an increasing international presence of people within the company, representative of the diversity in the group, whether at gender, generational or cultural level.
Yet these two driving forces achieve little without the third and final element, which is the key to everything: people. Our commitment is to continue working to develop our outstanding team, helping young people to train and develop professionally, offering them new opportunities and ensuring that all our their talents have the chance to exploit their own potential to the full. In this way we will truly be able to create the Chiesi of the future, a growing international company that is strongly competitive at global level in the therapeutic areas where it intends to be present.
Ugo di Francesco, CEO