an excited Jorge Gallardo He took over this Friday in the presidency of Almirall to his son Carlos at the shareholders’ meeting held in Barcelona. Thus concluded the stage, begun in 1988, of the second generation at the top of the pharmaceutical company, which internationalized the laboratory, merged with Prodesfarma, took it to the Stock Exchange, sold its powerful respiratory business to AstraZeneca and recently took a turn towards dermatology medical.
“My aspiration is to continue on this path to become leaders in world medical dermatology”, assured Carlos Gallardo, the new non-executive chairman at a press conference after the meeting that endorsed his appointment.
Until now, the president affirmed that he is already out, but he will continue to act as owner, since the family has 59.7% of the capital of the pharmaceutical company listed on the Ibex 35 and that it capitalizes on the stock market for more than 2,000 million of euros. “I am leaving after a fairly exemplary exercise in how to transfer responsibilities from one person to another. This in families is not very common. I am very satisfied with how this process has been carried out”, he acknowledged.
Looking back, the 80-year-old veteran manager acknowledged that he would have liked to leave the company twice as big, but lamented the lack of political support in the last 30 years, with continuous cuts. “We do not have a government with a clear policy and strategy of what is expected of the pharmaceutical industry”, he asserted. “It turns out that I am an entrepreneur, what I am not is a saint who works miracles. It’s very difficult if my wings are being cut.”
Regarding his father’s legacy, Carlos Gallardo, 50, acknowledged that, in perspective, one of the decisions that has been very beneficial for Almirall was internationalization. In fact, he insisted that the laboratory must continue to grow step by step in the US, a market that has choked the Catalan laboratory in recent years and that led to losses in 2017. In 2021, the pharmaceutical company also closed with losses of 40.9 million euros due to various accounting impairments, mainly due to its drug Seysara.
“The US is the most important dermatological market in the world. We have the ambition to be leaders in dermatology, therefore it will be a market that will continue to be a priority for us. It is true that in recent years there have been things that have not turned out as we expected. We are going to continue working”, he affirmed.
The newly elected president will not be an executive and will hand over the management to the CEO Gianfranco Nazzi, in office since last year. Gallardo will combine his functions with those of an investor through his firm CG Health Ventures, of which he is the founder.
The immediate future of the company involves the launches of Wynzora in more countries (against psoriasis), Seysara (acne) in China and, above all, the biological molecule lebrikizumab (atopic dermatitis). The laboratory can launch this latest drug, without a commercial name yet, in Europe (it only has the rights for this market) in 2023.
“Lebrikizumab may be a transformational product for the company”, asserted the new president. This treatment can give the Catalan laboratory up to 450 million in peak sales (maximum sales per year), according to a presentation for investors made by the laboratory itself in 2020. It would be a high jump compared to the turnover of 2021, which last year was 812.2 million (7.3% higher year-on-year). “We have a great opportunity in our hands now, with the assets that we have in our portfolio”, reflected Carlos Gallardo.
In his farewell before the meeting, the outgoing president assured that the laboratory has numerous advantages that constitute a firm base on which to continue growing. And he cited among those strengths the good reputation as a company, “serious and honest”; a significant and growing presence in Europe; the commitment to become leaders in medical dermatology; the important portfolio of R&D products, and a very solid financial position. He also highlighted a clear strategy to form a frontline team in innovation; a renewed management team, “and very importantly, strong support from the main shareholders, the Gallardo family; the new president Carlos Gallardo is the best example”.