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Newly launched Organon has strong footprint in Flanders

On 3 June 2021, a famous name on the international pharma stage made its comeback with a bell-ringing ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange: Organon. A spin-off of MSD, Organon is now an independent, publicly traded firm with a broad portfolio of over 60 medicines available in 140+ countries. What’s more, it is the only global company to focus on women’s health on such a large scale. In Flanders, the northern region of Belgium, Organon Benelux leverages a strong manufacturing footprint and accesses a strong talent pool. Let’s zoom in on the company’s global and local impact.

We are not just launching a new company; we are making a promise to the health of women everywhere. We will listen to women carefully to better understand their health needs and identify solutions that are urgently needed.

Petra Willems
managing director of Organon Benelux

Strong ambition, clear vision

When describing the why behind the newly launched company, Petra Willems – who has been appointed managing director of Organon Benelux – speaks with ambition and shares a clear vision: “It’s a unique opportunity to build a new company that seeks to be a leader in women’s health. There’s an urgent need to look at syndromes and conditions that only affect women or that affect them disproportionately compared to men. Providing a healthier future for women also entails a healthier future for their families and communities around the globe.”

Willems’ words also make it blatantly clear: while Organon boasts a long legacy, its focus is relevant to contemporary challenges. The company’s roots date back to as early as 1923 when it was founded by Dr. Saal van Zwanenberg in the Dutch town of Oss. While still treasuring its roots, the new Organon is different: no other major pharmaceutical company focuses primarily on women’s health to such an extent.

To achieve a healthier world, it is crucial to improve women’s health. After all, women make up half of the world's population. As a new company, we will begin by listening to women’s health needs to drive our product development and create new solutions. Our impact will go beyond medicines, contraception and fertility treatments: we can do so much more than that for women and their health.

Petra Willems
managing director of Organon Benelux

In addition to women’s health, Organon focuses on two other pillar domains that will also benefit from a renewed management focus and commercial investment. These domains are biosimilars and established brands, which include dermatology, respiratory and cardiovascular products.

Local springboard for success

With production sites and/or offices at four locations, Organon Benelux is an important hub within the global Organon family. In Flanders, the northern region of Belgium, the company operates a production site in Heist-op-den-Berg, near Antwerp. It also has an office in Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and Flanders. The other two Organon Benelux sites are situated in the Netherlands: a production site in Oss, and an office in Amsterdam.

To highlight the local sites’ importance internationally: of Organon’s 9,000-strong team worldwide, about 2,000 employees work in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Dedicated to women’s representation

Organon’s commitment to women’s health and wellbeing is also evidenced by the number of women leaders in the company. The representation of women on the company’s international board of directors is higher than any other S&P 500 healthcare company: 70% of the board positions are held by women.

The career path of Organon Benelux managing director Petra Willems also exemplifies this corporate culture. As an experienced senior executive with a career spanning 30 years at MSD in many therapeutic areas, Willems has held various roles with increasing responsibilities. For the past 10 years, she has been part of MSD’s Human Health Management Team in leadership roles such as director of Primary Care, director of Immunology & Vaccines and director of External Affairs.

Commenting on her appointment, Willems says: “It’s a unique opportunity to help build a new company with a culture characterized by entrepreneurship, empowerment and inclusiveness. I am looking forward to working together with our driven and effective team in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in order to shape a successful and bright future, for Organon and for women around the world.”

More info

Reported by
press release Organon
8 June 2021

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