Senior Director Government Affairs EMEA
What do you do?
Institutional affairs. The aim of my job is to make sure that genomics is understood by governments and legislators and at the same time that the company is aware of the opportunities at the legislative level – and those related to, say, national plans on rare diseases or oncology. We want to create a dialogue between us and institutions so that national healthcare systems and patients can get what they need in terms of faster and more accurate diagnosis techniques.
What are the goals of your commitment?
Illumina wants to make the most of the potential of genomics – this has been our vocation since the beginning. How? By producing some of the most accurate sequencing equipment worldwide and then working on the ground with hospitals and research centres. Genomics offers incredible potential for diagnosis: for example, in rare diseases that have genetic origin and where sequencing can provide answers that traditional techniques cannot. Or in oncology, with the understanding of tumour origins and patient profiling, thus helping to choose the most suitable therapy. Genomics is helping to create the personalised medicine we all seek: the right medicine for the right patient for the right disease. We are only at the beginning of the journey. And it will be a long and surprising one in the years to come.
What role does innovation play in your job?
If I wanted to be a little provocative, I would say that no one can talk about innovation more than we. Genomics is not just innovation: it is an innovation that disrupts because it compels health systems and doctors to change their protocols. As for the concrete contribution of innovation, the example of genomics and rare diseases is impressive: today, diagnosing a rare disease takes years and years, but with genome sequencing, the years become only weeks or months. Illumina embodies innovation: our goal is to make genomics part of routine procedures, reduce diagnostic times and costs – and, above all, improve people’s therapies.
In MIND, we see what you see in the Bay Area of San Francisco or on the East Coast near Boston, USA
What added value have you received or would you like to receive from your presence in MIND?
Illumina thrives on collaboration, it is our preferred way of working. We strongly believe in creating a virtuous ecosystem between industries, research, the public sector and the clinical sector, where we can truly verify the usefulness of technologies and better meet the needs of patients – patients who, in turn, must be part of the system. In this context, MIND is a “perfect storm”: the birth of a city of science in Italy, where we already have a strong presence and many partnerships. In MIND, we see what is happening in America in the Bay Area of San Francisco or on the East Coast near Boston, which is desperately needed in Europe. It’s no coincidence that we are neighbours of AstraZeneca and Bio4Dreams in the district.
How do you imagine the future of MIND?
I’m from Milan, and I think Milan still has a lot to give in being an authentic European capital and leading Italy. To me, creating a city of Life Sciences in an area that could potentially be abandoned is an ideal place for young people, researchers, universities, and scientists to continue to train, grow and create technologies. To help shape the health system of the future and give Italy the importance in the field of Life Sciences that it does not have today.