In an upcoming issue of Life Science Leader, Jan G. J. van de Winkel, Ph.D., cofounder and CEO of Genmab, shares the 5-step strategy developed and implemented toward making the company sustainably profitable. Within the article van de Winkel explains the important role played by its current and former strategic partners, which includes pharmaceutical companies like GSK and Janssen, and outsourcers (e.g., CMOs and CROs). And though it is clear Genmab likes the royalty model that has made this company one of the most valuable biotechs in all of the EU, the company’s CEO says it has aspirations for commercializing its own products. “We have the beginnings of commercial operations and medical affairs teams,” he states. As the next likely product to gain FDA approval could be tisotumab vedotin for cervical cancer, van de Winkel says its strategic partner, Seattle Genetics, will take the U.S. commercialization lead. “But we definitely have plans to help co-promote the drug,” the executive states. Because while Genmab anticipates 50 percent of product revenue to come from the U.S., that leaves 50 percent more to come from rest of world. Genmab is now in the process of bringing people on board with expertise in compliance, pharmacovigilance, and regulatory toward building a commercial organization with global aspirations. The company also recently opened an office in Tokyo, as they anticipate doing more trials that will hopefully lead to more commercial launches in Japan.
As of October 2019, the company had 18 Genmab-created products still active in clinical trials out of the 33 originally moved towards the clinic. “In our 20 years of existence we’ve had a pretty good success,” van de Winkel concedes. And while it is doubtful the company will see all 18 eventually cross the finish line for its original indication, by being open to opportunities to appropriately reposition products for where they might work optimally, Genmab is already doing well above average. In other words, if Genmab truly has aspirations of self-commercialization, given its previous track record, it might soon have to accelerate its commercial-team build.