Pharmaceutical companies are investing in the Czech Republic

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In 2017, MSD would like to have 500 employees in its Prague Global IT Innovative Centre.

The Czech Republic is slowly becoming a research centre connecting pharmaceutics and IT. This year, two new IT centres opened here – one belongs to Swiss Novartis and the other to the US Merck Sharp & Dohme. The initial wariness of the managers was soon replaced by a great enthusiasm and both global pharmaceutical companies decided to expand their IT centres in the Czech Republic significantly. The total investments will amount to several billions of Czech crowns.

Working with large amounts of data from both clinical tests and public registers and also form “elsewhere” is currently the most significant trend in pharmaceutics and biotechnology.

“We have been quite nervous at the start, not knowing whether it’s going to work and how many people we should hire,” says John Westby, MSD vice-president. This year, the company wanted about 50 to 80 people for its Global IT Centre in the Czech Republic. “We hired twice that number.”

That’s not all – by the end of next year the company would like to employ about 400 people, and the target number in the Czech IT centre is up to 500. Next year, the IT centre is going to move into a new seven-floor building on the Vltava embankment. The original 5-years schedule to increase hiring has been speeded up by two years. The value of MSD investment in the Czech Republic should exceed one billion Czech crowns.

Novartis, which had 150 employees in its IT centre, also decided to expand and double the number. “To be frank, Prague has surpassed our expectations,” says Detlef Geigle, head of the Prague IT centre.

“We have here great infrastructure including excellent public transport network, but mainly excellent pool of highly qualified IT experts,” says Geigle.

Similar praise comes also from John Westby of MSD. He adds that Prague is the ideal location also for another reason: Czech legislation allows more flexible employee relations than in West European countries. “This doesn’t necessarily mean firing people, but their transfers. For example in Brussels this is very difficult,” explains Westby.

However, right now, both companies are hiring increasingly for their Prague IT centres. MSD alone is looking for some 90 people and most of the job descriptions are about IT. Novartis is also looking for new people. In general, the companies are seeking IT specialists, mathematicians, analysts and economists.

“We combine aggressive advertising and active search. And people we employ also inform their friends,” describes Westby. He says that market deficit is notable only in searching for people for senior management. Some employees should also come from neighbouring countries. “We would like to have some three quarters of Czechs and Slovaks and the rest from other countries.”

The Czech government also plans to develop pharmaceutical research and industry, it was also among the topics of Prime Minister Sobotka’s three-day visit to Israel this week. Similarly to Switzerland, Israel is known for its cutting-edge pharmaceutics and the Israeli pharmaceutical company TEVA, with a daughter company in the Czech Republic, received a business award from the Czech business delegation in Jerusalem.

“Biomedicine, pharmaceutics, nanotechnologies,” explained Sobotka in which areas should Czech companies and scientist cooperate closely with their Israeli counterparts. “We need to focus more on industries with higher added value,” said the Prime Minister at a meeting with business people.

 

For more information contact:

MSD
MUDr. Filip Mavrov
External Affairs Director
+420 233 010 315
filip.mavrov@merck.com

Mgr. Pavel Kříž
PR Manager
+420 233 010 130
pavel.kriz@merck.com

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