Maja Pedersen: Multifaceted Leadership in Life Sciences and Biopharmaceuticals

Maja Pedersen
Maja Pedersen

As the healthcare field advances and expands, it also witnesses the emergence of dynamic women leaders who are transforming the terrain with their strategic foresight and relentless commitment. However, among these rising leaders, only a select few possess the ability to combine different leadership styles. This is what enables them to be adaptable and responsive when facing difficulties.

Maja Pedersen is an outstanding example of such leadership in the life sciences and biopharmaceutical sectors. Her outstanding contributions have earned her universal recognition.

With more than 20 years’ experience leading external manufacturing operations and global regulatory affairs, she heads FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies as its Chief Quality Officer. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies specializes in biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing, playing a fundamental role in developing manufacturing processes and producing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and drug products. In her previous position as Global Head of Quality and Qualified Person at Biogen, she successfully initiated large-scale manufacturing capabilities for commercial operations.

In the course of her illustrious career, Maja has been fortunate enough to work alongside various mentors and role models. Through her observation of these leaders, Maja developed a distinct leadership approach that places a high value on authenticity and vulnerability. By doing so, she actively cultivates an environment that promotes open communication and collaboration.

Maja’s story serves as a guide for healthcare leaders to embrace their unique approaches and values, and to create a more inclusive and collaborative environment for everyone!

Empowering Quality and Compliance in Healthcare Operations

With years of experience in pharmaceutical and medical device regulations, Maja understands the crucial role of compliance and quality in driving success. Her expertise guides strategic decision-making, risk management, and quality assurance initiatives.

As a seasoned leader in regulatory affairs, Maja brings deep knowledge of regulatory requirements and industry best practices. This enables FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies to proactively tackle regulatory challenges and stay compliant.

Maja’s approach emphasizes creating a culture of compliance, continuous improvement, and innovation. She believes in instilling a quality mindset where everyone takes responsibility for quality.

Her leadership empowers FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies to maintain the highest standards of quality, integrity, and excellence across all operations, ensuring exceptional delivery and fostering lasting partnerships.

Driving Collaboration and Innovation in Biopharmaceutical Partnerships

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is dedicated to being Partners for Life, focusing on swift and efficient delivery of novel medicines to patients. As an executive leader, Maja embodies this mission by positively influencing her surroundings and making a meaningful impact on people’s lives.

In the dynamic field of biopharmaceuticals, Maja finds inspiration and purpose in every interaction with partners. She is committed to aligning personally with the organization’s mission, striving to enhance patient access to life-changing medicines.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies seeks to be an essential extension of its partners’ manufacturing networks, allowing them to focus on developing medicines. Through collaborative efforts, leveraging expertise in bioprocess development, manufacturing, and regulatory compliance, the team leverages its expertise to accelerate the delivery of life-saving treatments to the market.

By promoting collaborative partnerships, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies fulfils its mission of being Partners for Life and contributes to improving patient access to medicines. Committed to driving innovation and excellence, the organization serves as a trusted partner in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Cultivating a Culture of Positivity and Innovation

Maja’s leadership at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is characterized by a commitment to maintaining a positive work culture. Embodying the core value of “Gemba” or “Go and See,” she actively engages with employees, creating an environment where everyone feels valued, empowered, and heard.

By prioritizing transparency, keeping promises, and celebrating successes, Maja reinforces a culture of trust and accountability. She believes in supporting and motivating every individual to contribute their best efforts, recognizing and appreciating their contributions.

Promoting psychological safety and embracing diverse opinions, Maja encourages creativity, resilience, and adaptability. This fosters continuous improvement and innovation within the company, driving positive business outcomes.

Maja’s leadership not only boosts employee morale and satisfaction but also strengthens teamwork and productivity. Through a culture of positivity, inclusivity, and excellence, Maja creates a workplace where every individual can thrive and contribute to the company’s success.

Commitment to Innovation and Compliance

At FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, maintaining leadership in regulatory standards and compliance within the pharmaceutical and biotech industry is a multifaceted endeavour. This continuous process demands proactive strategies, strategic investments, and ongoing collaboration with regulatory agencies and industry partners.

Currently, the organization is undergoing a quality organization restructure aimed at addressing regulatory challenges and enhancing compliance capabilities. This initiative involves investing in industry forums, boosting participation in regulatory dialogues, and cultivating stronger relationships with regulatory bodies. By maintaining constant dialogue, the company aims to anticipate regulatory trends, identify emerging requirements, and adapt processes accordingly.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies is dedicated to maximizing opportunities for professional development and knowledge exchange among team members. Individuals with specialized interests and expertise in regulatory areas are empowered to engage directly with regulatory agencies, bolstering regulatory expertise and influencing industry practices.

Continuous evaluation of quality standards through maturity modelling and external consultancy evaluations is integral to the company’s approach. By benchmarking against industry best practices and leveraging external insights, areas for improvement are identified and innovative solutions implemented to enhance regulatory compliance.

Embracing digital transformation initiatives and leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are key components of the company’s strategy. By deploying digital quality systems and piloting AI-driven tools, regulatory processes are optimized, decision-making is improved, and future regulatory challenges are anticipated more effectively.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies aims to establish itself as a leader in regulatory excellence, setting new standards for quality and compliance in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. Through proactive engagement, strategic investments, and continuous improvement, the organization remains committed to ensuring that its operations meet the highest regulatory standards, contributing to the delivery of life-saving medicines worldwide.

Creating Connections for Success

Establishing and maintaining strong connections with internal and external partners is a cornerstone of Maja’s role at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies. Recognizing the significance of nurturing relationships, Maja draws inspiration from her network of intelligent colleagues and stakeholders.

Internally, Maja prioritizes open communication and collaboration across all sites and departments. Through regular one-on-one meetings and group sessions, she cultivates inclusivity and mutual respect, actively listening to colleagues’ perceptions, concerns, and ideas.

Externally, Maja engages with regulatory authorities, industry partners, and global executives, emphasizing trust and credibility in her interactions. Whether through formal meetings, industry conferences, or networking events, she maintains transparency and open lines of communication to strengthen partnerships and achieve shared objectives.

Adapting her communication approach to accommodate different preferences, Maja ensures that connections remain strong and meaningful. Flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of others are key in nurturing relationships both internally and externally.

Maja’s goal is to cultivate a network of strong and trusted relationships, fostering a positive and productive work environment at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies. Through open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect, she contributes to a culture of partnership and success.

Strategy for Cross-Functional Collaboration

Maja’s approach to cross-functional collaborations at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies revolves around cultivating a culture of trust, transparency, and teamwork. Embracing the Japanese concept of Nemawashi, Maja quietly lays the groundwork for proposed changes or projects with stakeholders before formal kickoff, promoting collaboration and buy-in from peers and teams.

Moreover, the Executive Leadership Team, representing global perspectives, encourages an atmosphere of engagement, both virtually and in person. This inclusive approach ensures active participation and involvement in discussions, facilitating effective cross-functional collaboration and the success of projects.

Striking a Balance between Business and Mission

Balancing business imperatives with the mission of being Partners for Life is integral to FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ ethos. Recognizing the dual importance of delivering value to customers and shareholders while advancing the mission of improving patient access to life-changing medicines, Maja Pedersen is deeply committed to upholding these principles.

She prioritizes instilling a company-wide quality mindset that benefits both customers and shareholders, ensuring that business expectations are met and shareholders’ trust is maintained. By aligning commitments with the overarching mission, the organization aims to deliver value-driven outcomes that contribute to improving patient access to vital medicines.

Through a focus on quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies not only achieves its business objectives but also fulfills its mission of being partners for life, advancing the development of tomorrow’s medicines. The ability to balance business considerations with a mission-driven focus is fundamental to the organization’s long-term success and sustainability.

Vision for A Better Future

Maja envisions the future growth of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies fuelled by excellence in capacity availability and bold regulatory approval strategies, alongside pioneering new modalities for the market. By optimizing capacity utilization and investing in cutting-edge facilities, the organization ensures readiness to meet the rising demands of the biopharma industry.

Embracing a commitment to excellence, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies proactively engages with regulatory agencies and adopts innovative compliance approaches, expediting the development and commercialization of novel medicines. Collaborating with innovative partners, Maja is confident in the collective ability to transform the industry.

By combining excellence in capacity availability with bold approval strategies and staying at the forefront of innovation, the organization positions itself for sustained growth, innovation, and impact. The vision is to lead the industry, driving positive change and making a meaningful difference in the lives of patients worldwide.

Driving Success Through Collaborative Leadership

One notable project led by Maja resulted in remarkable improvements in employee satisfaction and throughput time reduction, with throughput improving by more than four times. Witnessing the energized and proud employees was personally satisfying for her. By creating a collaborative environment and empowering her team to identify and implement process improvements, they successfully streamlined workflows. This led to faster turnaround times and increased employee morale.

Maja’s experience in project leadership highlights the importance of promoting a culture of innovation, accountability, and collaboration. By prioritizing employee engagement and empowerment, they not only achieve project objectives but also cultivate a positive work environment where individuals feel valued, motivated, and inspired to excel.

Maja’s Guidance for Success

Maja offers invaluable advice for aspiring women leaders in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry:

  1. Stay true to yourself: Embrace your unique strengths, perspectives, and leadership style. Authenticity sets you apart and enables you to make a meaningful impact.
  2. Seek support and mentorship: Surround yourself with mentors, role models, and supportive networks. Take advantage of opportunities for mentorship and professional development to enhance your skills and confidence.
  3. Embrace vulnerability: Recognize that vulnerability is a strength. Learn from failures and setbacks, using them as opportunities for growth and resilience.

By embracing these principles, professionals can navigate their careers with confidence, resilience, and authenticity, making a significant impact in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry, and positively affecting the lives of those around them.