May 19, 2020

How Nestlé and AC Immune are fighting Alzheimer’s disease

healthcare
Nestle
AC Immune
Alzheimer's disease
maria collazo
2 min
How Nestlé and AC Immune are fighting Alzheimer’s disease

“…committed to enhancing people’s lives by offering tastier and healthier food and beverage choices at all stages of life and at all times of the day,” reads Nestlé’s company bio. As one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, it is interesting to see a name such as this in health.

But, it’s true. In a recent move closer towards the health care industry, Nestlé’s health division team—the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS)—has signed a research collaboration agreement with the Swiss biotech company AC Immune to develop an Alzheimer’s disease diagnostic test, according to our sister publication Healthcare Global.

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The NIHS is part of Nestlé’s global R&D network and performs fundamental research for the understanding of health and disease and for developing science-based targeted nutritional solutions.

The role of NIHS within Nestlé is to drive the development of innovative nutritional concepts and products that will benefit consumers worldwide through outstanding scientific and technological research whilst strengthening Nestlé’s position as the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. With no cure, the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

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Through the partnership, AC Immune will offer Nestlé its expertise in biology and pathology of the Tau protein (abundantly found within the central nervous system) with its laboratory capacity to support the research program. The NIHS will provide its technology platform for antibody detection, in order to identify and validate an in vitro diagnostic test for the highly sensitive detection of the tau protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood plasma.

AC Immune, which already has established ties with Roche and Johnson & Johnson in drug research, said on Wednesday it would develop a minimally invasive diagnostic assay for Tau with the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences, reported Reuters.

RELATED TOPIC: Is your venture capital on the digital health bandwagon?

This is Nestlé’s second medical deal in a week and reveals the progression towards the more profitable medical field as sales of processed foods slow in many markets. Over the last two years, Nestlé has been investing in the market for health care products that have higher margins than the coffee, soups and sweets it is generally known for.

The collaboration between Nestlé and AC Immune shows promise, as globally there are already 44 million individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Finding an effective test to diagnose Alzheimer’s in its very early stages is considered to be one of the most pressing needs in the treatment of the disease.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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