In the realm of healthcare, standing out hinges on the ability to push boundaries while steadfastly upholding a commitment to serving patients. For California-based biopharmaceutical company Amgen, being a frontrunner is not a mere aspiration – it’s ingrained in the very fabric of the organization. The company has been bringing groundbreaking contributions to the world of medicine for over four decades.
In Taiwan, Amgen operates a young office of only seven years under the leadership of General Manager Daniel Villegas. Although he recently embarked on his journey in Taiwan, Villegas brings with him a wealth of versatile experience that has shaped him into the leader he is today.
Villegas’ versatile experience, from fast-moving consumer goods to rare diseases in Latin America and later leading teams across four continents, ingrained in him the importance of navigating ambiguity, building strong teams, and being intentional about how he shows up as a leader.
Villegas recognizes that leadership’s essence lies in creating an environment that enables others to excel. “Amgen is a value-based organization,” he says. “A big part of my role is connecting individuals to their own purpose so they can show up as the best version of themselves in order to deliver on Amgen’s mission of serving patients.”
Amgen’s unwavering commitment to its innovative pipeline, centered on critical diseases, underscores its mission to deliver groundbreaking therapies that will endure for generations to come. This commitment extends to investing in a long-term portfolio and future therapy areas, ensuring a lasting legacy.
The relatively brief seven-year history of Amgen Taiwan presents a unique advantage. With employees who have been there from the very beginning, the company retains the institutional memory to learn and continuously refine its strategies. This culture of exploration and calculated risk-taking sets Amgen Taiwan apart, enabling it to adapt swiftly to evolving landscapes, such as the integration of AI and automation into healthcare.
“Right now, it’s about ensuring that we make the appropriate investments that will set up Amgen Taiwan for the next 7 years, and longer,” says Villegas.
A crucial facet of Amgen’s presence in Taiwan is its dedication to enhancing the healthcare system. In collaboration with public and private partners, Amgen champions initiatives that seek to improve patient access to innovative drugs. The company conducts a large number of Phase I and Phase II first in-human clinical trials in Taiwan. Villegas notes that focusing on early-stage trials in Taiwan allows the company to feedback local population data to global teams – to better inform how they bring future products to patients across Asia.
“Apart from addressing age-related conditions, we also focus on prevention,” he adds. “We partner with local governments to conduct screenings and provide essential testing to underserved areas.”
In partnership with medical institutions, hospitals, and associations, Amgen launched a DXA screening program, measuring bone density to help prevent fractures among elderly. In 2023 they are aiming to support with 25,000 DXA screenings across Taiwan.
“We want to bring organizations and partners closer together by aligning around a shared purpose,” says Villegas. “As a member of the healthcare community, our shared purpose is the obligation we have to enhance health across Taiwan. One way to achieve that is to ensure we have balance in that health ecosystem.”
To achieve this balance, Villegas stresses the importance of bringing in new innovative drugs, careful consideration of the role of biosimilars, and improving collaboration across government, academia, and industry. “Healthcare systems can benefit from having originators and biosimilars. Originators bring innovation to patients and investment into markets – biosimilars can broaden access for patients and support with budgets. But the way in which biosimilars are brought into a market has to be right, with savings being reinvested back into that ecosystem to bring further innovation,” he notes.
Looking ahead, Villegas seeks to refine Amgen as an ideal workplace that promotes leadership at all levels. “One of our competitive advantage is our people,” he says. “Only by investing in and supporting people’s development can we grow.” To support employee advancement, Amgen has established an early talent accelerator in partnership with a local university, and hosts an annual leadership forum series.
“We believe leadership is not just at the managerial level – it exists across all layers of the organization,” says Villegas. “So leadership at all levels is something we promote enthusiastically.” Amgen drives four attributes of leadership in its employees: Inspire, Accelerate, Integrate, and Adapt. “Change is inevitable, and growth is something we highly value, so the ability to adapt without losing sight of our long-term goals is something we focus heavily on,” Villegas says.
The goal of fostering these attributes is helping people connect to the purpose of improving health and creating an environment where innovation thrives. With a versatile and innovative portfolio and strong talent and leadership, Amgen Taiwan is ready to trailblaze more healthcare breakthroughs and bring better health to Taiwan.
“We have an exciting journey ahead – we have an opportunity to bring truly innovative medicines to patients that need them,” says Villegas. “And I’m excited about connecting our people to a purpose and driving growth for Amgen and the healthcare industry here in Taiwan.”