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    Making world healthier, cleaner

    Gianluca Pettiti, president of the China unit of US multinational Thermo Fisher Scientific. [Photo provided to China Daily]

    Gianluca Pettiti pilots Thermo Fisher's drive to revolutionize healthcare through precision medicine

    Italian-born Gianluca Pettiti, president of Thermo Fisher Scientific China, a healthcare technology company, believes that in this age of customized this and personalized that, it is perhaps only fitting that the medical practice, which has been somewhat standardized for decades, should also become person-specific, highly precise to meet individual needs.

    Such an approach can enable patients to get better treatment and, more importantly, the right treatment. This could save a lot of money for Chinese people, he said.

    "Our focus on precision medicine is to create a better diagnostic system, in order to enable doctors to make better choices and help patients to have better outcomes at a lower cost," said Pettiti.

    Making that happen is a mission of sorts for the company, which already employs 4,000 staff in the country with headquarters in Shanghai.

    Thermo Fisher Scientific specializes in accelerating life science research, solving complex analytical challenges, improving patient diagnostics, delivering medicine to market and increasing laboratory productivity. All this it does in various vertical markets such as environmental protection, food safety, precision medicine, pharma, biopharma and academia.

    Precision medicine, he said, is not simply gene sequencing but personalized therapy that uses different treatment protocols for different patients, a method that helps improve the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment.

    Without this kind of method, treatments or therapies may become unaffordable for ordinary patients. Besides, they may also be misdiagnosed or prescribed wrong drugs.

    "That's why I think Thermo Fisher Scientific is uniquely positioned, because we are operating on the measurement side, and we are helping measure what is important to make the right decision," said Pettiti.

    The company's mission is in line with the Chinese government's emphasis on the development of precision medicine.

    As early as 2015, President Xi Jinping gave instructions to set up a China Precision Medicine Strategy Experts Team.

    In response, the Science and Technology Ministry decided to invest 60 billion yuan ($9 billion) in the sector by 2030.

    "China is developing rapidly. It's our second-largest market worldwide after North America," Pettiti said, adding that Thermo Fisher has a big role to play in helping China's healthcare sector to develop fast.

    "We're the right partner for Chinese industry players because Thermo Fisher is a leading company that has relevant technologies cutting across genomics, proteomics and metabolomics," he said.

    (Genomics is the study of structure, function, evolution and mapping of genes or genetic material; proteomics is the study of the set of proteins that are in, or can be expressed by, a cell, tissue or organism; and metabolomics is the study of substances called metabolites formed in, or necessary for, metabolism.)

    "We created a healthcare ecosystem for our customers-the Thermo Fisher Cloud, a platform that analyzes patients' data collected by its instruments, through big data technology. There are already more than 50,000 users, with more than 25 percent of them coming from China."

    The State Council, or China's Cabinet, released a statement on Aug 24 that the country will promote the development and application of big data platforms in the healthcare industry.

    Ever since, Thermo Fisher in China has accelerated its cooperation with local governments, hospitals, emerging companies and academia to apply its technology knowhow and international experience to the challenge of developing the precision medicine sector.

    In mid-September, Thermo Fisher Precision Medicine Customer Experience Center, opened in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, a year after signing a cooperation agreement with Guangzhou government.

    Its hospital partners include First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, West China Hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and Fuwai Hospital in Beijing.

    Last year, the company achieved double-digit growth in the China market, compared with the average growth of 5 to 6 percent of the healthcare sector in the country.

    "Thermo Fisher Scientific is a one-stop scientific solution provider, giving all-round services in precision medicine such as smarter laboratory equipment and big data cloud platform.

    "We try to be very local in the way we serve our customers. There are very few staff who are foreigners, with more than 62 percent of our employees being technical specialists and engineers who serve customers directly."

    In using such strategies, Pettiti draws heavily from his previous successful stints in other parts of the world: Italy, the Netherlands, Latin America... Working and living in different continents and diverse cultures gave him opportunities to learn five languages.

    "In Thermo Fisher, we all have one mission-enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer-which inspires us to run the company and develop our talent," he said, adding that setting a clear goal is also the secret to managing a company well.

    He has been the president of Thermo Fisher Scientific China since January 2015. He joined the company as vice-president of associate firm Life Sciences Solutions China in 2014 through the acquisition of Life Technologies.

    His years in China have helped sensitize him to both modern and ancient aspects of the country and its culture "China shares the same culture with Italy: We are very close to our family, we are very close to our friends, and we love food… that's why I enjoyed so much my time here."

    Passionate about technology, and the impact of digital tools and artificial intelligence on life, he spoke on future healthcare at the Summer Davos, the World Economic Forum event in Dalian Liaoning province, earlier this year.

    He also writes articles on artificial intelligence and digital science on social media His suave demeanor and sartorial elegance suggest he is a man meant to excel in a precision-related field.

    © Copyright 2017 Invest in Guangzhou
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