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Belén Garijo

The Power List 2017 – Business Captains

Belén Garijo

Chief Executive Officer, Healthcare, Merck KGaA

Before joining the pharma industry, I spent six years as a practicing physician. I still see myself above all as a physician with a big responsibility to improve patients' lives. I am most passionate about driving development of breakthrough innovation to make an  impact on patients whose needs are yet unmet. In practice, at Merck Healthcare this means guiding innovative investigations through a rigorous process that results in the delivery of cutting-edge medicines with the potential to improve the health and extend the life of people under threat from chronic diseases.

Pivotal moment
It’s difficult to pick one single moment I’d regard as a turning point. Every career move I’ve made has in some sense been a watershed event for my further professional development. What’s been pivotal for my career is less any particular moment or decision, and more my general willingness to let my sense of curiosity lead me out of my comfort zone – not just once, but again and again and in various ways, from clinical practice as a physician, to the pharmaceutical industry as a scientist, and then an executive from local to the global level – and of course having enjoyed different cultures, countries and experiences. For me, each such move represented a bold decision that always enriched me as a person and as a professional. My determination and ambition to deliver tangible value while remaining true to my overarching ambition to help patients guided my carrier decisions. This brought me to Merck, where I had immensely enjoyed providing leadership to one of the most exciting and successful business transformation of my whole carrier.  PredictionsIn terms of what we’re doing at Merck Healthcare, our ambition is clear: to launch at least one new product each year or get a product approved in a new indication. That’s the plan starting this year and I’m happy to say we’re off to a very good start with Bavencio already having been approved by the FDA for treatment of patients with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma. We have a pipeline bursting with promising drugs in our key areas of oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology, so Bavencio is just the beginning. To express it in a very few words, we intend to change the direction of cancer care and immunological diseases as we know them and in this context, in our company the best is still to come.

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