Anna Törner: Success requires bold decisions!

“Doing things right is fine, but doing the right things as soon as possible is even better”, writes Anna Törner in a column.

We make hundreds of decisions every day, most of them so insignificant that we do not even perceive them as decisions. Some of the decisions are more important. We consciously weigh our options and usually make a relatively quick choice. From time to time, we make crucial decisions, which have far-reaching consequences and are difficult to reverse.

Sometimes, we push the crucial decisions before us and choose to solve the challenges by making less incremental decisions. The tricky thing is that if we duck for the crucial decisions, we will make them anyway, only indirectly.

In the long run, a long list of more minor decisions of the ‘bicycle parking decisions’ type will also become crucial decisions, simply because we have missed the opportunity to make the difficult decisions proactively. We tend to think that things cannot go completely wrong if we avoid sticking our heads out and thinking for ourselves. At least, it will not be our fault.

After all, our own initiatives are the fi rst step towards a possible failure. However, not choosing will also become a choice. Sometimes we need to make bold choices linked to huge investments. Sometimes a brave decision is to dare stop a development project because the opportunity to succeed is non-existent.

Developing drugs means being at the forefront of research, the exact same thing has not been done before, and there is no final conclusion showing us the right way forward. Whom of us has not encountered minor drug projects, often headed by the inventor themself, underfunded and without access to the necessary expertise. They are moving forward at a snail’s pace during years of ‘development’, assisted by pocket money from Vinnova. You think that no damage has been done, we have not made any major mistakes, but that is not

A project that is moving so slowly in an industry under rapid development is actually going backwards. Time in the sense of ‘lead over competitors’ and ‘patent time’ are invaluable currencies in the toughest industry in the world. Doing things right is fine, but doing the
right things as soon as possible is even better.

We have seen several Swedish companies succeeding with important development projects
during the past year. Among others, Sedana Medical AB has secured European approval
for its inhalation treatment Sedaconda, Calliditas Therapeutics AB has received FDA approval for Tarpyo for treating IgA nephropathy, and CombiGene has signed a very favourable agreement for its gene therapy with Spark International, a wholly owned subsidiary to Roche.

None of these achievements would have been possible without “gutsy” initiatives based on careful analysis of potential options. Other projects have failed at the finish line, and unfortunately, this is inevitable. In order to succeed, we must be willing to take the risk of failure.

So, what point am I trying to make? We, who work in life science, must be willing to look up and choose the compass direction. No matter how hard it is, we must be willing to make the crucial decisions. There is no guarantee of success, but chances of success are zero
without brave decisions.

Artikeln är en del av vårt tema om News in English.

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