Pf Talent: EFPIA's Nathalie Moll on getting it right

Amy Schofield 08 August 2017

What do you do? 

I was appointed Director General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) in 2017, having previously worked as Secretary General of EuropaBio, the European Association for Bioindustries. My role involves working with the team and member companies, and associations, to create the best possible environment for the research, development and production of treatments for patients.


How did you get into pharma?

Growing up, I moved around quite a lot in Europe and beyond. I began developing an interest in science during my teenage years, when I was living in Morocco, and became passionate about sustainable development. I wanted to understand how things worked and biotech allowed me to explore at a molecular level. I also established how things could be harnessed to increase health and food sustainability. I went on to study biotechnology at St. Andrews University in Scotland and, when I decided not to go into pure research, I went to do a stage at the European Commission, in order to get acquainted with European institutions, and understood that I could contribute by enabling an environment that allowed researchers and industry to discover and develop solutions to address major challenges.


What happened next? 

A job in the European crop protection industry, covering their biotech dossiers and other files for three-and-a-half years and, following that, a move to the European Association for Bioindustries (EuropaBio) in 1999, responsible for government affairs. I then moved to Italy and worked for the biotech industry for a further four years, before returning to EuropaBio on strategic policy, as their first Healthcare Director. I then led the EuropaBio agricultural team between 2006 and 2009 and was promoted to Secretary General in 2010. I was appointed Director General of EFPIA in April this year.


What are you most passionate about? 

The science and solutions that industries large and small come up with, and the idea of contributing to helping people. I have been incredibly fortunate to work in industries that include huge numbers of brilliant people who are passionate about what they do and also great fun to work with. I enjoy the challenge of addressing misconceptions or misunderstandings about biotech or pharma, and discussing these vital subjects with people dedicated to getting it right and making a positive difference one way or another.


Which character traits and talents have been instrumental to your success? 

The most important asset is when your occupation is aligned with your values. If you are passionate about what you do, this will translate into the drive you need to achieve results. It ensures you have those reservoirs of resilience you need in life to go through challenging times, and will mean you have the capacity to celebrate results. Passion and care would be the two traits I would choose above all others, while nothing can really be achieved if you’re not part of a team.


What’s the best piece of careers advice you’ve ever been given? 

Your job is only part of your day. You need to treat it as such and make sure you balance it with the other elements in your life; care for your family, care for your community and care for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty teapot.


How is EFPIA embracing the growth of digital for future success?

Our member companies are engaged in building digital platforms to ensure we can effectively gather and analyse both existing ‘big data’ and the real world data generated in actual clinical settings. In addition, we are engaged in a series of collaborative efforts with other sectors, such as digital and regulatory, working in areas like the electronic common technical document for medicines authorisation submissions. We also work on e-health initiatives involving patient-reported outcomes and health apps.


How is EFPIA preparing for the UK exiting the EU? 

Our major focus at this point is on ensuring regulatory continuity between the EU and the UK, and avoiding any disruption in the supply of medicines to patients on both sides of the Channel at any time. We are insisting on the need for an early decision on the future location of the European Medicines Agency, which is fundamental to ensuring this continuity. It is also important that both sides arrive at a mutually acceptable trade deal that does not impede patient access to medicines in either market.


What advice would you give to someone entering the pharma industry now? 

We are entering a challenging period, and you have to remember that what we do is critical to the health of patients – our contribution to society is to help people live longer, and healthier lives. Above all, be proud of what the industry has to offer.   

Go to efpia.eu

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