Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation
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Bracco, research for success
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - Set up in 1927 by the family which gave it its name and has run it for three generations, Bracco is today an integrated international group, a world leader in overall solutions for imaging diagnostics. The group has a turnover of over âŹ 1 billion, 64% of which is realised on foreign markets. Diana Bracco is chairman and managing director of the company and is head of the Federation of Italian chemical industries.
Dr Bracco, what role has research had in the growth of your company?
"I believe that the success of the Bracco group is based on our commitment to research: a commitment which has always been maintained at the highest level. Today, Bracco invests over âŹ100 million in Research and Development, accounting for over 15% of turnover. Undoubtedly, doing research also means taking risks: significant and constant investment is necessary, and the results are seen in only in the mid- to long term. Our company employs over 600 specialists in Research and Development, distributed between the Research Centre in Milan, the Swiss facility in Geneva and the US Centre in Princeton: a network which supports the laboratories of Esaote, the company in the group specialised in diagnostic equipment; those of Acist in Minneapolis for the injections of contrast media; and Volume Interactions in Singapore, dedicated to the development of software applications in 3D".
What markets have you focused on?
"I started the process of internationalising the Group 10 years ago. This year is the 10th anniversary of our presence in the US, where today we have over 400 employees, with research laboratories in Princeton specialised in molecular imaging. At present, North America represents the main market for our contrast media, representing over 30% of the sales in diagnostic imaging. Moreover, again in the US, we have an associated company, Acist, specialised in injection systems for contrast media. As well as in the US, we are also present in Europe, where we have both direct presences, such as in England and Austria, and indirect presences in Germany and France. In Japan we have an important presence in the Bracco-Eisai joint-venture; lastly we have moved into China. This year we opened a factory, situated in the high-tech area of Shanghai, and also announced a joint-venture with SINE, one of the main pharmaceutical industries in China, for the production and marketing of contrast media. To this we added, again in 2004, an Esaote factory for the production of ultrasound equipment, in Shenzhen".
What strategies have you adopted the penetrating these markets?
"In the United States, where we have taken over the branch of Bristol Myers Squibb specialised in diagnostics, with its research activities, our presence is by now consolidated. We boast a solid network of relations with the academic/scientific communities of reference and with many clinics and hospitals. As far as regards China, both with the partners of the SINE and with local authorities, we are very happy with how things have gone. We have started a joint-venture and the factory in a little over four years: a record, if we consider that we are working in a highly sophisticated sector with avant-garde production technologies and strict quality controls".
What short term goals have you set yourself ?
"The competition is becoming increasingly ruthless, and the challenges of scientific research tougher. Despite the difficulties presented by the market, we continue to respect our commitment to research. Bracco is the only company in the diagnostic sector which offers integrated solutions, from contrast media to specific material, from injection systems to software. I believe we have equipped ourselves with the necessary instruments to be competitive, but it is also true that the pressure on profit margins, caused by an unfavourable euro/dollar exchange rate, has a negative impact which is increasingly difficult to compensate for".
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