New GSK CFO eyeing manufacturing, R&D

Simon Dingemans, as Reuters paints him, appears dissatisfied with...well, everything. GlaxoSmithKline's new CFO has the hatchet out for R&D, for sure, but manufacturing is by no means safe, either.

On the job just six weeks, Dingemans sees and seeks opportunities for cost reduction, "whether they involve smarter manufacturing practices or outsourcing centralized services within the organization."

Let's hope he's seen the manufacturing practices folder. It contains some pretty bold thinking, like hauling back to the UK bioprocessing ops that had been set up in India. There's also GSK's program of undergrad tuition reimbursement linked to its postgraduate training so the company can grow its own manufacturing leaders. Add to that GSK's involvement with the University of Clyde to develop continuous processing techniques, in the hopes of rescuing pharma manufacturing from an eternity of batch processing. 

Dingemans, a former Goldman Sachs banker, is riding an inside track when he says investors are no longer willing to throw money into an R&D "black box." Understandable, but let's hope that his cost-reduction hunting expedition is informed by the value of big thinking and innovative leadership, and what continuous processing promises drug manufacturing.

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