In summer 2012, on the recommendation of a recruiter, Jens Hult met with Novocure’s Chief Operations Officer Mike Ambrogi about an open position at Novocure’s Root, Switzerland location. He could feel Mike’s energy and passion for Novocure while they spoke about the role over breakfast, and Jens knew there had to be something special about Novocure.
“Mike told me, ‘I want you to build the supply chain for a future successful global oncology company,’” Jens said. “I thought that was amazing. For me, within my profession, that was the ideal job.”
Jens, now Vice President of the Global Supply Chain, joined the company in May 2013 and set out to accomplish the challenge, creating a three- to five-year strategic plan for the supply chain and building a warehouse and office in Root in his first months on the job.
By the end of 2012, Novocure had roughly 75 patients on therapy. With a lower volume of patients, most of Novocure’s treatment systems were delivered to patients through local decentralized distribution channels relying heavily on the involvement of Novocure’s field employees.
Over the course of 2013, the number of patients grew to 180. Novocure was preparing for a projected period of growth in the coming years, with the EF-14 phase 3 pivotal trial in newly diagnosed GBM nearing its interim analysis. Novocure needed a global supply chain and central warehouse designed to ensure that patients received the therapy on time and in a compliant manner, and to support anticipated commercial launches in new approved markets around the world.
To build the global supply chain, Jens and the team chose global partners from Europe, Israel, the U.S., Mexico and China.
“Everything flowed through the warehouse here in Switzerland,” Jens said. “All of the equipment that ended up with a patient, be it in the U.S. or in Japan or anywhere in the world, was managed here in our Global Operations Center.”
Jens said the strategic approach to building the supply chain and creation of a centralized warehouse in Switzerland was designed to ensure a secure supply of Novocure’s therapy for patients globally. This involved building support systems for product planning, procurement, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, and service.
“As you grow, one of the key pieces is that you trust your supply chain to deliver what you need when you need it,” Jens said. “That sense of security is what we in the supply chain team strived to provide to the business since I started, and that’s what we intend to continue to provide to the business as we grow. Our number one priority—today and in the future—is to ensure that we do not have patients going off treatment based on not having product.”