Q&A with Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP

MEDIA 7 | September 19, 2019

Tom Raftery, Global VP at SAP is an Innovation Evangelist, Futurist, and international Keynote speaker. Prior to joining SAP, Tom worked for a number of companies at Group IT Manager/CTO level, and as an Industry Analyst. Tom is a global thought leader and ranks among the top 10 Internet of Things influencers in the world. 

MEDIA 7: If I were to say to a bunch of people who know you, ‘Give me three adjectives that best describe you’, what would I hear?
TOM RAFTERY: 
I would like to think that I am a good communicator, maybe smart and hopefully generous. You will have to ask people other than myself though. They would be a better judge.

M7: What is the role of a technology influencer in driving environmental sustainability?
TR: 
The role of someone like me would be to raise awareness of the issues that are happening and potential solutions to them, particularly technological solutions. A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them. So, raising awareness with people, of the importance of these issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role I think that influencers should be playing.


"Raising awareness with people, of the importance of environmental issues, and the potential technological solutions to them is the role that influencers should be playing."

M7: SAP is celebrating the 10th anniversary of strategic sustainability this year. What are the initiatives being taken by the company to help the world run better and achieve the UN sustainable development goals by 2030?
TR:
We are involved in a lot of different projects in this front. We work for example, with Vestas Wind Systems who are the only global energy company dedicated exclusively to wind energy. We help them with their backend systems to help optimize the delivery of windfarms and turbines to windfarms, so that they are keeping their costs down and deploying the windfarms with the highest efficiency. We work with Munich Re and the European Space Agency. Munich Re are one of the largest reinsurance companies in the world and for them, they need to predict, and try and mitigate the damage of natural disasters. We use data from European Space Agency to help Munich Re do that.

We work with Brazilian company, Stara who are an agricultural company. They manufacture agricultural equipment, and the work we do with them is what’s called precision agriculture. Precision agriculture means that we can help their machines be far more precise in things like spreading fertilizers, spreading seeds to make sure that the seeds don’t overlap, the fertilizer doesn’t overlap and you’re doing it row by row. You have to sow the seeds and spread the fertilizer very accurately to avoid an overlap. Because if you have overlap with fertilizer, it can reach toxic levels and damage the plants that you are trying to help. If you have overlap in seeds, you can have excess competition between the seeds and then you get reduction in yield. Whereas if you are optimizing using precision agriculture, you are massively reducing your inputs and you are maximizing your outputs. So, you are able to feed more people with less land and less resources which obviously, as we are reaching higher population levels year-on-year, this becomes more and more important.

We work with NGOs like this one in Africa, called Elephants, Rhinos and People which was founded to preserve and protect the wild elephants and rhinos in Southern Africa. We work with local people to make sure that it’s more profitable for them to protect wildlife than it is to be poaching wildlife. We put collars on elephants and rhinos with geo-tracking in them. We use drones, to track the elephants and rhinos and if they start approaching borders of the parks that might expose them more to poaching. We send off alerts and help move them back into places where they are safer. Since we started the initiative in that area, no elephants rhinos, or humans have been harmed since the deployment of the tracking.

We work with Swiss Federal Railways, the largest energy consumer in Switzerland and they are also an energy producer - they produce electricity. So, we work with them to help reduce the peak loads, the peak demand for electricity by flattening their load which then means, they don’t need to build extra generation plants, reducing their carbon footprint and making their organization more efficient.


"Making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents is important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important."

M7: You have been on the SmartCitiesWorld Advisory Board. How does SmartCitiesWorld help in developing smart cities of the future?
TR:
The SmartCitiesWorld is a publication. It raises awareness of smart cities initiatives that cities can take to make the cities run better, reduce their energy requirements, reduce their footprint, increase their air quality, reduce noise pollution, and lots of different initiatives like that. So, as a publication, it’s primarily responsible for raising awareness and helping cities find better ways to increase quality of life for their constituents.

M7: How does SAP embrace an innovative culture in the company?
TR:
Obviously, as a technology company it is very important for SAP to embrace an innovative culture in the company and what the company typically does is, it spends a lot of money on research and development and it does a lot of communication internally and externally highlighting the innovative solutions that we have come up with for our customers. And making our workforce aware of what we are doing as our external constituents because it’s important for our employees to feel engaged and part of something important. And as a consequence, every time, every year, we run this survey internally on how happy our employees are working for SAP. And our rate of employee retention is extremely high.

It’s not unusual in Europe to talk to SAP employees who have been working for the company for 10 or more years, which in the technology industry is unusual. So, that’s how we embrace the innovative culture and we talk of the things that we do, we work closely also with our customers because we do a lot of co-innovation projects with our customers where we take our customers into our co-innovation centers and we talk through their problems with them and come up with innovative ways to solve any particularly gnarly issues that they might have.


"A lot of people are busy in their day-to-day lives and they might not be aware of some of the more pressing environmental issues that are happening in the world and that might impact them."

M7: What is your favorite part of working at SAP?
TR:
I started working for SAP in September 2016, so it’s just over 3 years ago now. And, prior to working with SAP, I had worked primarily with startups and small companies. I have never worked with a global mega vendor before. So, I was wondering what it would be like and I had my doubts, and if you would ask me in 2016, I would have said, “Yeah, I’ll probably last about three months with SAP”. But, three years later, here I am. And, a lot of that is down to the fact that the company is so big, and it has close to 100,000 employees, it means there are always people I can approach, if I need help in any country or in any industry. Because my role is across industry. So, if I need to talk to somebody who is in the transportation industry, I can just go straight to the transportation business unit and talk to people there. If I need to talk to people in the hospitality industry, same story. If I need to talk to people in the airline industry, the mining industry, the electricity industry, we cover all industries, we cover all regions globally. And, there’s a culture within SAP of helpfulness which is great. Apparently, it’s unusual. For me, it’s the norm if people bring up and ask me for help, I would say, “Yeah sure, absolutely, no problem.” And that’s the way most people in SAP are! You pick up the phone or send an email, and they are happy to help, no matter what. Apparently, that’s not the norm for big companies, but it is the norm for SAP which is great and that’s why I love working for SAP.  

M7: When did you start working, how old were you, and what was it?
TR:
My first job was when I was 14. I worked on a building site where I was a builder’s mate, helping raise the scaffolding on the building and also help ferry bricks that were delivered to the site from the ground up to the brick layers on the top floor. So, that was my first job.

ABOUT SAP

SAP is a global software application vendor. SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables our customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improves people’s lives.

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Ligand Pharmaceuticals Announces Inducement Grants Under NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4)

Ligand Pharmaceuticals | August 02, 2022

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Pharma Tech | August 09, 2022

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Asahi Kasei Bioprocess | August 01, 2022

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Ligand Pharmaceuticals Announces Inducement Grants Under NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4)

Ligand Pharmaceuticals | August 02, 2022

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated announced that effective August 1, 2022, Ligand’s Board of Directors approved the grant of non-qualified stock option awards to purchase an aggregate of 90,073 shares of its common stock, 5,000 restricted stock units and 4,000 performance stock units the target level to six non-executive employees. The options were granted on August 1, 2022, and the grant date for the RSUs and the PSUs will be the date on which Ligand files a Form S-8 Registration Statement to register the shares pursuant to Ligand’s 2022 Employment Inducement Plan. The awards were granted under the Inducement Plan as employment inducement awards pursuant to NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The Inducement Plan is used exclusively for the grant of equity awards to individuals who were not previously employees of Ligand, or following a bona fide period of non-employment, as an inducement material to such individuals’ entering into employment with Ligand, pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4). The options have an exercise price of $89.70 per share, which is the closing price of Ligand’s common stock on The Nasdaq Global Select Market on August 1, 2022. The stock options have a term of ten years and will vest over four years, with 12.5% of the shares vesting six months after the employee’s commencement of employment and the balance of the shares vesting in 42 equal monthly installments thereafter, subject to the grantee’s continued service on such vesting dates. The RSUs will vest over three years on the first three anniversaries of the grantee’s commencement of employment, subject to continued service through each applicable vesting date. The PSUs will vest based on the achievement of certain total shareholder return objectives and the completion of the contemplated spin-off of OmniAb, Inc. from Ligand. The number of shares earned under the PSUs may be up to 6,500 in the aggregate if maximum performance levels are achieved. About Ligand Pharmaceuticals Ligand is a revenue-generating biopharmaceutical company focused on developing or acquiring technologies that help pharmaceutical companies discover and develop medicines. Our business model creates value for stockholders by providing a diversified portfolio of biotech and pharmaceutical product revenue streams that are supported by an efficient and low corporate cost structure. Our goal is to offer investors an opportunity to participate in the promise of the biotech industry in a profitable, diversified and lower-risk business than a typical biotech company. Our business model is based on doing what we do best: drug discovery, early-stage drug development, product reformulation and partnering. We partner with other pharmaceutical companies to leverage what they do best (late-stage development, regulatory management and commercialization) ultimately to generate our revenue. Ligand’s OmniAb® technology platform is a patent-protected transgenic animal platform used in the discovery of fully human monoclonal and bispecific therapeutic antibodies. The Captisol® platform technology is a patent-protected, chemically modified cyclodextrin with a structure designed to optimize the solubility and stability of drugs. Ligand’s Pelican Expression Technology® is a robust, validated, cost-effective and scalable platform for recombinant protein production that is especially well-suited for complex, large-scale protein production where traditional systems are not. Ligand has established multiple alliances, licenses and other business relationships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies including Amgen, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, Janssen, Takeda, Gilead Sciences and Baxter International.

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Pharma Tech Holdings SA Obtains a Capital Commitment Agreement of CHF 30 million from Global Investor LDA Capital

Pharma Tech | August 09, 2022

Pharma Tech Holding SA announced it has secured a CHF 30 million investment to support its portfolio investments from LDA Capital Ltd, a global investment group with expertise in cross border transactions including the agriculture, Agri-tech, and CBD industries. Established in 2019, PTH is a Swiss based holding company, which invests into innovative businesses with high technological value and scalability potential, mainly in Switzerland and Europe, with a focus on the health-tech, Agri-tech, and functional food. This investment will allow PTH to mainly invest and support its portfolio company Blue Sky Swisse SA a JV between PTH and listed company IGEA PHARMA NV IGPH - ISIN NL0012768675. BSS focuses on the extraction of natural active principles from vegetable matrices, vegetable waste, and renewable sources to deliver B2B products under the form of CBD oil, Terpenes and Waxes. The factory located in Biasca, will be built to the state of art of extraction technology by super critical CO2 and will be energy self-sufficient through the use of solar photovoltaic panels and district heating. BSS will grant for highest CBD quality also due to a proprietary extraction process, starting from the farming performed under strict control and culminating with the immediate freezing of the flowers after harvest, with the target to also sell “all natural” formulations to increase bioavailability thus enhancing the possible applications. Last, but not least, BSS will invest in the agricultural raw material chain and will create an aeroponic green house in Ticino, to deliver a high quality GMP Pharmaceutical CBD oil. LDA Capital agreed to commit an amount of up to CHF 30 million in cash within a maximum of three years. This Capital Commitment will be released based on drawdowns by PTH, that PTH has the right to exercise at its sole discretion. “We’re thrilled with this partnership and are so glad that LDA Capital recognizes the value of PTH and its portfolio company, with the aim of creating one of the most innovative hub for health-tech, agri-tech and functional food,” Sabina Del Nigro, CEO at PTH About Pharma Tech Holding Pharma Tech Holding SA is a holding company based in Lugano, Switzerland, which invests into innovative businesses with high technological value and scalability potential, mainly in Switzerland and Europe, with a focus on the health-tech, Agri-tech, and functional food. About LDA Capital LDA Capital is a global alternative investment group with expertise in cross border transactions worldwide. Our team has dedicated their careers to international & cross border opportunities having collectively executed over 250 transactions in both the public and private middle markets across 43 countries with aggregate transaction values of over US$11 billion.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Asahi Kasei Bioprocess to Showcase Award-winning MOTIV™ Buffer Management Technology for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing at ACHEMA 2022

Asahi Kasei Bioprocess | August 01, 2022

Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America, subsidiary of diversified Japanese multinational company Asahi Kasei, will be featuring their MOTIV™ Buffer Management Technology at ACHEMA 2022 in Frankfurt this August. Winner of “Best in Show” at Interphex in 2017, “Technology of the Decade” from Bioprocess international in 2012 and originator of the concept for inline buffer formulation (IBF™), Asahi Kasei Bioprocess is a market leader that keeps pharmaceutical production moving efficiently and precisely through solutions like MOTIV with built-in automation software so that medicine can get to patients sooner and safer. Buffers are used for the vast majority of processes in pharmaceutical development, which has traditionally required storage in extremely large tank farms to be utilized as necessary. MOTIV can blend buffers from concentrates in small, single-use bags and is controlled with sensors to maintain and assure precision. It is also able to blend buffers to exact specifications as needed during a downstream development process and can handle a wide variety of buffer formulations. In addition, it is automated by the integrated OCELOT™1 System Control software to be repeatable and also helps to reduce waste created in the development process, so it is a more sustainable means of pharmaceutical manufacturing. “We have been working to ‘standardize’ system designs as much as we can, to make them more readily available with shorter lead times; but are also very capable at building custom systems to meet the specific needs of customers,” says Chris Rombach, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America. “One of our strengths is not only having an innovative product, but also an extensive family of MOTIV systems to choose from. Buffer is the lifeblood of pharma manufacturing and with the R&D opportunities of being a part of the Asahi Kasei Group we have been able to develop MOTIV to be the most reliable and efficient IBF technology in the market today. Not to mention, Operation Warp Speed helped push capacity to expand globally and billions of dollars are being invested by manufacturers to ramp up production as quickly as possible. This drives a new sense of value for systems like our MOTIV family that can streamline processes.” 1 The OCELOT System Control is an Asahi Kasei Bioprocess proprietary technology that integrates and/or interfaces with plant-wide control systems in a universally compatible format, allowing for far-reaching data collection and analysis. About Asahi Kasei Bioprocess The Fluid Management Business Unit of Asahi Kasei Bioprocess is devoted to solving therapeutic product safety, efficiency and purity challenges within the pharmaceutical and bioprocessing industries. With technology platforms for virus filtration, chromatography, inline buffer formulation and oligonucleotide synthesis, our bioprocessing systems, columns, and automation solutions advance GMP manufacturing of critical drug substances around the world. Built with pride, built with quality, built to exceed your high expectations. “Built for You.” About Asahi Kasei The Asahi Kasei Group contributes to life and living for people around the world. Since its foundation in 1922 with ammonia and cellulose fiber businesses, Asahi Kasei has consistently grown through the proactive transformation of its business portfolio to meet the evolving needs of every age. With more than 46,000 employees around the world, the company contributes to a sustainable society by providing solutions to the world's challenges through its three business sectors of Material, Homes, and Health Care. Its health care operations include devices and systems for acute critical care, dialysis, therapeutic apheresis, transfusion, and manufacture of biotherapeutics, as well as pharmaceuticals and diagnostic reagents.

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