«The strong investments of the group The presence in the city is strengthened The Verona hub becomes a strategic pharmaceutical center»
Over 400 million in total investments planned in the next three years in Italy in the Verona and Parma plants and in research, from gene therapy with Telethon to the new vaccines against Ebola and hepatitis C. To which are added the 32 million of the two-year period just ended. And yet the 70 million euro already invested in gene therapies within the Telethon project.
And now the great agreement with Novartis which provides for the entry of 2,500 new employees into GSK against an exit to the other pharmaceutical multinational of 60 units. All this under the direction of the Verona headquarters which is becoming increasingly strategic at an Italian and European level.
Daniel Finocchiaro managing director of Gsk Italia on the eve of the ratification of the agreement appears satisfied. For almost 15 years in our city, married to a Veronese, a daughter in Verona schools, he does not hide, alongside the wholly economic positivity of strengthening the group he manages, also the personal joy of having contributed to consolidating one of the historical industrial presences for a territory to which he is now very attached.
«Thanks to this agreement with Novartis – explains Finocchiaro – we will become the leading pharmaceutical company in Italy and we will enter the top twenty places in the ranking of the country's largest companies by industrial presence. But above all, we will lay the further foundations for the strategic nature of the Veronese headquarters on a global level. And this has significant positive effects for our community».
– What kind of positive effects?
«In the meantime, our city is increasingly becoming the strategic development center of pharmaceuticals. This means increasing the presence in the Verona area of top-level figures in the field of research and management. This translates into a positive contamination of knowledge that is enormously good for the territory».
– And at the level of work
«If we look around us, we rarely see development plans of such great importance. Thanks to the agreement with Novartis, we become even more of a leader in vaccines, while we sell the oncological part to the number one in the sector. This means one more opportunity for the 60 colleagues who switch to Novartis and, conversely, the 2,500 who join us make us stronger. It is no small thing in such a difficult moment for the Italian economy».
The new entries mainly concern the Siena plant. And Verona?
«As I told you, Verona is the thinking head of the development strategy in Italy of which this operation is just a further step. In Verona then there is the fundamental and solid garrison of the production of antibiotics which employs a large group of people. And let me tell you: production but also creativity. We are talking about thousands of jobs acquired. But few know that here with us there are the creatives for packaging of the whole group worldwide, who have gone from 2004 to today, from less than 30 to over 100 people who create the logos of gsk drugs and vaccines and every year produce around 13,000 artworks (packaging drawings and texts) for drugs and vaccines marketed in all 140 external markets served by the company. A little jewel that reflects the valorisation of an all-Veronese historical heritage, namely that of graphics. In any case, an agreement that makes us stronger cannot fail to have positive effects in the future in all places where GSK is present, including our city.
But it is the numbers in the budget that confirm the importance of Verona and of Italy».
– What numbers?
«Our turnover as GSK Italia has now exceeded one billion euros. Exports from Italy to the world are worth 58 million euros.
I'll give you one last piece of data: GSK Italia pays 46 million euros in taxes alone while it invests 179 million in personnel expenses….».
– Speaking of taxes, bureaucracy, poor infrastructure. How did he manage to convince the British that Italy remains a country to invest in?
«I recently accompanied our global CEO, Andrew Witty, to Matteo Renzi. The prime minister clearly told us that he considers - and rightly so - the pharmaceutical sector to be strategic for Italy. Indeed, he said that pharmaceuticals are the very future of our country».
- And so?
«Wait, I also met Minister Lorenzin and other members of the government who reiterated the government's sensitivity towards those who invest, create jobs and opportunities for young people. In short, we started off on the right foot.
It is not so obvious to find sensitivity of this kind in Roman palaces. As for us, Andrew Witty has asked for a few things: certain rules and stability in the face of huge investments in advanced research and production equipment. We understood each other."
– And all this strategy, he told us, passes through Verona
«It doesn't go through Verona. has its base and decision-making center right in our city. We really want Italy to become the world pharmaceutical hub with Verona at the centre.
We are now head to head with Germany, but the overtaking is close ».
– All for the best, then. But is it possible that there is nothing negative? It would be a miracle in Italy.
in fact, the recent cut of over two billion in the health fund and its potential repercussions on pharmaceutical spending worries me a lot as it contradicts the stability envisaged by the government. I would expect that the Regions where there is a strong industrial presence could join forces to avoid possible negative effects on their own territories. I really hope that sooner or later this sector will also be considered by the Regions as a source of development and not just as a cost". etc.