Bayer earns $8.5 billion in Asia-Pacific, 10th consecutive year of growth for pharma arm

Bayer says 2022 will be a "breakthrough year" for its pharmaceuticals arm. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Pharmaceuticals giant Bayer announced €5.8 billion (S$8.5 billion) in pharmaceutical sales last year in the Asia-Pacific region.

The figure is up 4.8 per cent from the year before, marking the 10th consecutive year of growth in the region for the company's pharmaceuticals division, said Bayer in a statement on Wednesday (April 20).

Within Asean, the company recorded an average growth of 9 per cent across Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It also said business in the region contributed to almost one-third of its global pharmaceuticals sales.

Singapore is Bayer's Asia-Pacific headquarters for its pharmaceuticals, crop science and consumer health divisions, and Asean country group platform.

The company also said 2022 will be a "breakthrough year" for its pharmaceuticals arm, with four drugs that target cancer and cardiovascular diseases slated for launch.

Dr Ying Chen, head of commercial operations for Bayer's pharmaceuticals division in the Asia-Pacific, said the consistent strong growth in the region is testament to the value the company provides to patients in areas where medical needs are high.

Dr Chen, who has been based in Singapore since last July, reckons a committed, talented and diverse staff is central to Bayer Pharmaceutical's strong performance.

In a separate interview with The Straits Times, she noted that its employees in Singapore stay for more than seven years on average.

And key to the sterling retention figures are a swathe of assistance and talent development programmes.

Employees can work from home twice a week, and access a 24/7 employee assistance hotline for support they need, such as for their mental health.

Head of commercial operations Ying Chen noted that committed, talented and diverse staff are key to its strong performance. PHOTO: BAYER PHARMACEUTICALS

Senior staff can take up a "reverse mentorship", which allows junior staff to mentor senior staff in particular skills.

"One of our senior leaders took it up as he wanted to learn more about social media and engaging (people across) multiple channels, and we found someone who taught him many new skills," said Dr Catherine Donovan, head of medical affairs at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in the Asia-Pacific.

Gender diversity in Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Singapore has also exceeded the target of 50 per cent at each level of management set by Bayer globally, with over 60 per cent of staff in the pharmaceutical division in Singapore being women.

But Dr Chen added: "We emphasise that we are gender agnostic - we hire based on talent, capabilities and expertise."

Dr Donovan said she observed that although a lot of female graduates work in research and development, as well as science, female representation usually declines at senior levels.

Talent schemes that recognise the needs of high-potential staff from different genders, cultures, professional backgrounds and age groups are in place to ensure their potential can be realised.

Said Dr Chen: "We have a tailored programme, whether (you are) a working mum, from a minority, or come from a different country.

"For instance, a working mum may not be able to relocate, but can still take on a global project virtually as a short-term assignment."

High-potential staff are given specific, short-term assignments designed to stretch them and provide them with more exposure across different domains and regions.

"The key to talent development is to make sure you have aggressive goals in mind and a clear idea of where high-potential people can develop further," said Dr Chen.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.