Bradway addresses manufacturing strength, the state of biotech during COVID-19, and his ongoing commitment to the health and safety
Every year, Amgen's CEO Bob Bradway gathers with his Operations leadership team at the company's largest manufacturing facility, Amgen Manufacturing Limited (AML) in Juncos, Puerto Rico. The annual meeting gives AML staff a chance to engage with their leaders about the priorities and issues that will impact the manufacture and distribution of Amgen's medications to patients around the world.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 meeting looked a little different than in previous years, with Bradway participating via a virtual conference call. Amgen Operations leaders Esteban Santos, executive vice president of Operations, and Arleen Paulino, senior vice president of Global Manufacturing, joined in-person, following COVID protocols by wearing face masks and maintaining physical distance in separate conference rooms on-site.
Continuing to serve every patient every time
The pandemic has required new ways of working to safely and reliably manufacture, package and distribute Amgen medications to patients around the world. In his opening remarks, Bradway expressed appreciation for the continued hard work and commitment to safety from Amgen's Operations teams.
"I'm so proud of the success you're having at AML in continuing to serve every patient every time, and also in continuing to keep each other safe and do the things we need to do both at work and at home to stay away from the SARS-COV-2 virus," Bradway said. "Our experience has been very encouraging, both in the way we continue to produce product for our patients, but also encouraging in the way we've managed to stay safe."
The state of the biotech industry during COVID-19
In the Q&A portion of the meeting, staff raised questions about how the biotech industry has been impacted by COVID-19, to which Bradway offered an optimistic view of the future. "So far our industry has been holding up quite well against the strain of COVID-19. I think that reflects the extent to which companies in our industry have made the necessary investments in manufacturing," he said.
"I think the other thing that's happening is that there is a renewed respect for innovation. It will be innovation that gets us out of this," he added. "I think when people look at the innovation that's happening in the industry, they can't help but be impressed by the speed at which the industry is moving, and by the collaborative nature of the industry's approach to solving this challenge."
COVID-19 safety is vital for Amgen's continued success
In response to a question from a staff member about how Operations staff can maintain the company's competitive advantage and continue successfully serving every patient, every time during the pandemic, Bradway and the Operations leadership team reinforced Amgen's commitment to the health and safety of Amgen staff and their families. Avoiding COVID-19 complacency is not only important for ensuring staff members stay safe themselves, but it also helps prevent supply chain disruptions for Amgen's medicines.
"Ensuring the safety of our staff is critical to all the activities we do here, and it's easy to get complacent when a crisis like this gets protracted and takes a long time," Santos said. "I appreciate the efforts happening on-site to ensure that when people come here, they are working in the safest environment possible. I continue to encourage the team to put the practices that we are applying here so well on site to their personal lives to ensure we are safe from a personal family perspective, and so we can deliver on our challenge to ensure supply for patients."