Hey, did you know you don’t have to be a doctor, a pharmacist, or a chemist to be able to create new medicine? Now, if you’ve got a diploma in IT, you can get a job at Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company.

In the previous years, informatics were only a small part of the company operations. Now it has become a crucial part of the business. That’s why the Polish chapter of the company is planning to hire 150 IT specialists this year.

Roche Global IT Solution Centre, with offices in Warsaw and Poznan, was created in 2004. Since then, around 500 people have been working on creating innovative solutions for developing and maintaining the company’s IT systems. They are responsible for creating apps to be used during clinical studies or software that makes the production of new meds safe.

However, the decision to create new jobs wasn’t so easy. While the company doesn’t need any extra funding to do that, Roche’s chapters in Malaysia and Canada were strong competitors. Why Poland, then?

“We started as a typical shared services centre. It was set up in Poland due to lower employment costs, as well as access to the best specialists. Today, actually, we no longer do maintenance work. The IT and bioinformatic solutions created by us are used by Roche researchers all around the world at all stages of the search for new molecules, production, and distribution of medicines. Moreover, the development of the center also affects the increase of employment in partnering companies; in Poland, there are already 3,000 people working for us,” says Wiktor Janicki, CEO Roche Poland.

Roche Global IT Solution Centre actually receives the largest funding. Last year 625m PLN were invested in R&D here in Poland. As much as 80% of that money was given to the IT department. That’s a huge amount, and the results are really fantastic; the growth rate is already between 15 to 20 per cent, and it’s increasing every year.

Roche is one of the main medicine providers in Poland. Just last year, their profit from sales reached 900m PLN. However, their revenue depends on a lot of negotiations, since around 95 per cent of their products are reimbursed by NFZ (Polish National Health Fund). Unfortunately, Polish Ministry of Health is slow to introduce new therapies into the system. That, according to Janicki, prevents Roche’s most innovative products to be available to a much larger group of patients.

While Roche doesn’t produce medicine in Poland, they conduct clinical studies for the whole CEE region. Last year, they opened Early Stage Research Institute at the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology in Warsaw.

“Poland really needed such an institute. Until now, there have only been oncology clinical studies on stage three cancer. It is now possible to start at a very early stage, for example, researching first-in-human first-line drug administration. At the institute, several studies have already begun, which is groundbreaking for Poland,” says Janicki.

But that’s not all! Roche are also looking to invest in new biomedical technologies. For instance, in 2016 the American company Genentech, member of Roche Group, invested in a mRNA stability mechanism discovered by a group scientists from the University of Warsaw, led by professor Jacek Jemielity. Roche are planning to use it in tests of individualised cancer vaccines.

That sounds very promising, and we wish Roche a lot of successes in the future. For now, you can see their representatives during Impact’18, of which Roche is a Premium Partner. See you on June 13th & 14th in Krakow!

Register here!