We are often privileged to be able to speak to some of the most outstanding and dedicated members of industry for these pages, who represent leaders in the fields of aesthetic, dermatologic and anti-ageing medicine. However, it is often rare to have the opportunity to speak to someone who has been awarded with a Lifetime in Dermatology Achievement (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology; JDD).

Humberto Antunes, worldwide CEO of Galderma, was awarded this prestigious honour at the beginning of the year, following nominations from the entire dermatology community for those companies regarded among their peers as the very best thought leaders. Galderma was elected to receive a JDD Leaders of Distinction Award and was chosen as the Leader of Distinction for the ‘Lifetime in Dermatology Achievement Award’.

‘I was very honoured to receive this award, but I also think it’s a testament to the employees of Galderma,’ said Mr Antunes. ‘We have 5000 employees around the world, and many skilled providers who work either directly or indirectly with Galderma, so it is their merit and their work.’

The awards are also, of course, testament to Mr Antunes’ passion for dermatology and his specialism in the field: ‘Everything I’ve done and everything I do is for dermatology, so it’s always good to be recognised by your peers.’

A focus on dermatology

Humberto Antunes began his career in the pharmaceutical industry over 30 years ago and quickly dedicated himself to dermatology, becoming worldwide CEO of Galderma in 2004. His maxim is shared with the vision of Galderma’s founders; to specialise in a specific area and become the best in that area — an affinity that Galderma and Mr Antunes share.

‘I’ve been very eager to focus our teams and people on dermatology; it’s important that they have a passion for it and that there’s a sense of service and purpose,’ he said. ‘And that sense of purpose to serve patients is, I think, what drives Galderma’s product portfolio and how we develop products to try to meet the needs of
our patients.’

As a company, Galderma has always aimed to be at the forefront in terms of providing education, training and further information so that physicians are able to deliver the best medical solutions to patients, in order to restore or maintain their skin health. While the heritage of Galderma is based on prescription skincare products, Mr Antunes and the company saw a need to enter the aesthetic business and provide tools for a range of procedures, while continuing to stay true to its background in dermatology.

‘When we were developing soft tissue fillers, we realised that we needed something incredibly safe, such as Restylane, but also have the ability to offer other things that physicians want and need,’ he explained.

Indeed, Restylane has been used in over 20 million treatments since its launch and has an abundance of safety data available to support its use. Complementary to this, Galderma developed Emervel and Azzalure (Dysport), and has recently launched the Harmony Programme.

‘The Harmony Approach is one that we believe will provide a comprehensive tool for both physician and patient,’ Mr Antunes explained. This approach aims to provide the right tools and training to give patients the best treatment possible, while actively engaging the feedback of patients and physicians in the long term.

‘What we want is for people to look as good as they feel. We want to promote the conscious, safe and sustainable use of facial rejuvenation treatments — we need to take care of our market.’

Taking care of the market: regulation

Those readers based in Europe will be aware of the EU medical device directives currently under review, and the extensive debates around regulation that have arisen since the PIP breast implant crisis came to the fore. In fact, it has been difficult to escape the array of opinions — both positive and negative — in the debate on regulation for the aesthetic industry.

However, Mr Antunes knows exactly where he stands on this matter, especially as he heads a reputable company that builds its products on evidence-based and scientific integrity.

‘In Europe, I think an approach to regulation that guarantees patient safety, but innovation and medical progress at the same time would be very welcome,’ he said. ‘Now obviously I would also like to have a form of regulation that is predictable, clear, effective, and that is applicable to everybody. For example, to classify cosmetic implants as a medical device — which is the case in most countries outside of Europe — is a great idea.’

Patient safety is certainly in the minds of Mr Antunes and his team at Galderma when developing their product offerings, and something they believe is essential for the aesthetic industry.