di , 21/10/2019

Transforming healthcare starts from innovation. And all the stakeholders should be involved in the process, pharma companies included.

We have met and discussed with Francesca Wuttke, Chief Digital Officer at Almirall, about the digital healthcare transformation steps that are taking place at Almirall.

Francesca Wuttke

Francesca Wuttke Chief Digital Officer at Almirall

Francesca, phD, has over 20 years of drug development and healthcare expertise in both the US and Europe, and most recently, she led European investments as Managing Director for the MSD Global Health Innovation Fund and previously held roles at Novartis and Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Global changes are happening worldwide when it comes to healthcare. A digital transformation that cannot be avoided any longer, despite the number of sceptics within all the organizations. What are the challenges that Almirall has faced or still facing in this process?

F: I would say Almirall has changed quite dramatically during the past few years. There’s an increased focus on innovation but the pharma industry is often slow to implement new ways of working and new business models. And when it comes to digital transformation there is still a lot to be done to integrate digital initiatives within core company strategies. The first challenge that I have faced has been to define what “digital” truly means. There was such a disparity from team to team. So it took us a long time to come up with a clear definition for digital that could fit all the needs across the organization.

As such, we have defined Digital as the use of new technologies and insights derived from data to change how we are working and innovating, as well as creating new growth opportunities for Almirall’s business.

What does digital mean for Francesca Wuttke?

F: I think we should not do digital for the sake of digital. We should not implement a new piece of tech, just because it is cool or attractive to people. We are aiming to go beyond the pure digitization of processes – for example converting a marketing brochure to PDF and putting it on an iPad – but rather  we are looking to do something different, pushing and pulling data in a meaningful way and offering an opportunity to leverage the data as an asset and provide insights for the business to grow.

I would much rather do something that adds value and that is aligned with the Almirall’s strategy. We have spent the past 8 months talking with the teams and trying to understand exactly what are the burning questions about their day to day. And in that process, we have worked on unhearting gaps that could be potentially filled with digital solutions and services.

There are a number of things we are looking to do, most importantly partnering up with fewer agencies and with more start-ups. Mostly because in working with the start-ups, the teams are allowed to upskill themselves and learn different business strategies and ways of working.

Can we define Almirall as a startup-friendly company?

F: Yes, we can and for me this is really important. We work in propelling our cultural transformation with the initiation of our in-house accelerator: the Digital Garden, powered by Almirall. We invite startups and companies to apply for a place within our Digital Garden, to co-create different digital solutions with us. Our program is also about mentoring and helping them learn more about the pharma industry and introducing them to our network of investors.



Almirall was founded back in 1943 and it is based in Barcelona. It is a specialty pharma company focused on medical dermatology, in particular skin health, and its products are available across the globe in over 70 countries, through 13 affiliates and a strong strategic partnership network.

Thank you, Francesca. We encourage our readers to visit the Digital Garden website to know more about the call and of course… to apply for it!