NEWS – ÖZLEM BAY YILMAZ
“We will invest 100 million Euro for pharmaceuticals”
Being one of our professionals in the world’s league, Tuygan Göker put an end to his 36-year career at Roche two years ago. Göker transferred his experiences to invest in innovative pharmaceuticals in Turkey. After being involved in a joint investment with the owner of R-Pharm, a Russian pharmaceutical company, Göker says “Soon, we will embark on our Phase-I trials at universities, which has not been attempted before with the biological pharmaceuticals.”
Tuygan Göker stands one of the most significant people representing Turkey abroad as a global manager. He made a very successful career journey in Roche, in which he got in after seeing a news advertisement 38 years ago. He was Pharmaceutical Operations Manager of 110 countries and leader and founder of potential strategic markets in Roche, where he started as ‘junior product manager’ and spent all his working life. Two years ago, his “entrepreneur” identity came forward and he set sail for brand new responsibilities.
This time, Göker will be serving to the pharmaceutical industry with the aim of introducing ‘corporate’ culture. He has launched into investing in Turkey by being partners with Alexey Repik, the owner of the Russian pharmaceutical giant R-Pharm and one of the most prominent business people in Russia. We talked about many things from the investments they will make soon to the issues of Turkish pharmaceutical industry with Göker, transferring all his experiences in this sector to TR-Pharm which was founded two years ago.
After a long professional business life, you have become an entrepreneur within the very same sector you had been working for. How did this process develop?
I have a 36-year history at Roche. I left the company at the end of 2013. I have worked with and therefore known Alexey Repik very well, who is the founder of Russian R-Pharm and a versatile entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical industry. Then, we headed towards a significant joint investment with R-Pharm, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Russia.
How big is R-Pharm?
It is one of the largest companies in Russia. Having been founded in 2001, the company has generated approximately 1.5 billion dollars in revenue. It has a 30% market share when it comes to the products prescribed by the specialists in Russia.
Haven’t the Russians refrained from investing in Turkey in the face of the problems within the pharmaceutical industry?
No, because Turkey has a significant investment potential. They also see the potential in Turkey with a population of 80 million. They thought it was a right move to establish partnership and make investment in Turkey.
When was TR-Pharm established and could you describe its partnership structure?
We founded TR-Pharm on joint accounts two years ago. Our purpose is to make investment in Turkey in biotechnology field. At the same time, we aim at contributing to R&D via our investments by starting step by step in Turkey. Many companies in Turkey generally make clinical programs during development processes. We will focus on the R&D of innovative products starting from Phase-I as a start-up firm.
Is there any Phase-I trials in Turkey?
Not with biological pharmaceuticals. Representing the industry, our goal is to jointly carry out these trials with universities and ministries. We would like to contribute to R&D in Turkey with transparent and mutual support and cooperation.
| IS IT POSSIBLE TO COMPETE WITH MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES?
Göker thinks that pharmaceutical industry can achieve great successes in Turkey in a short period of time with its strong background and says: “It will be very helpful to aim at increasing investments in innovative products and for this purpose, to increase the dialogue within authorities, industry and institutes. This issue enables us to gain additional speed in many other things and in competing with multinational companies.”
Göker views investments in R&D as important in this regard and states: “It would contribute a lot to product development and improvement of know-how if financial support is provided with funds allocated from a specific section, as it is applied in countries like USA and England for companies engaging with R&D.”
You will have an investment in Çerkezköy. When will this investment start to take place?
We obtained the ‘Strategic Incentive Document’ with the help of the incentives law of the Ministry. This incentive enables us to utilize the conditions of the Fifth Region in the First Region. We purchased a field of approximately 40 thousand square meters. Here we will build a site manufacturing on biotechnology in a close field of first 14 thousand square meters and then increasing up to 24 thousand square meters. We aim at laying its foundation at the beginning of the next year.
What is the budget of this investment?
Investment will be improved gradually. It will start from 50 million Euro and increase up to 100 million Euro. The completion of the investment will take 5-6 years. We will start manufacturing approximately in the middle of 2018 unless there occurs a significant delay.
What kind of pharmaceutics will be manufactured?
We predominantly aim at manufacturing oncologic pharmaceutics. We initiated the technological processes of the products to be manufactured in our Factory in the future.
Will you also engage in exportation?
We get licenses for manufacturing products for 19 countries including Middle East and North African countries (MENA region). Thus, our goal is to increase exportation in our manufacturing gradually.
We plan to make our export rate 50% of our manufacturing in time. We opened a branch of our company in Dubai four months ago. It was necessary for us so as to operate in the region.
Have you started your R&D studies?
The studies are in coordination with universities. We will start the first of some specific clinical trials with Ankara, İstanbul and Ege University soon. R&D studies are long-termed when it comes to pharmaceutics. Keep in mind that any pharmaceutics that we currently use is the product of development studies that take 10-15 years in labs. It is a matter of scientific process.
Furthermore, that’s a fact that when you look at the products of multinational companies, you will see that the starting points of half of them are start-up firms. And for this reason, R&D studies of young companies like us are really valuable.
What is the budget that you will allocate for R&D?
We can say that when planning, we allocate most of our budget for R&D and manufacturing investments. We are a start-up firm and such budgeting rate is normal. The R&D and budget rate in multinational companies may reach up to 20% of total sales. And thus, they prefer countries that provide them with the most desirable and profitable investment options and that have staff trained appropriately. As we increase our revisions in this field, we have the potential to become a much more desirable candidate for many R&D investments.
What are your goals regarding this investment?
Today, our industry imports from many countries. And in Turkey, various imported sources are used in the industry. The main reason of our desire to build this site in Turkey is to reach to a point that makes countries say “I am importing from Turkey” by turning the tables. Turkey has skillful staff for such investments. We are a community that has the quick-wit and practicality necessary for this task. The only thing we need is to believe and frame our working discipline. And when we speed up bureaucratic processes, there will remain no problem.