Managers under the spotlight - Mihai Manolache, CEBIS International

Mihai Manolache is currently managing the CEBIS’ group businesses with a diversified portfolio of activities: pharmaceutical & healthcare services, medical research, life science services, solar energy developments, research and development in agriculture, real estate investments. 

Mihai holds a PhD in Pharmacy from “Carol Davila” University of Medicine & Pharmacy Bucharest. He also holds a Master Degree in Biostatics from University of Bucharest. Mihai carried out two post-graduate courses in Immunology and Genetics from Harvard Medical School.

About the company

The leading company of the group is CEBIS International. Before the founding of CEBIS, Mihai has been involved in establishing Clinical Operations in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, as well as business development operations for a US-Based CRO.

Today, CEBIS is a medium-sized global Clinical Research Organization (CRO) having its headquarter in Switzerland. 15 Years ago, the team started CEBIS International in Bucharest, Romania - using the Functional Service Provider (FSP) model. They started with two fundamental assets necessary for any business: know-how and networking. While they used their networking to start the FSP model, they built on developing their core services to become a Full-Service Provider. Step-by-step, services like study monitoring and management, data management, biostatistics, medical writing and regulatory affairs were added to their core services. During a timeframe of 4 years, CEBIS managed a transition from the Functional Service Provider to Full-Service Provider. In the same time, CEBIS efforts were concentrated on expanding its services to new markets.

In 2016, CEBIS moved its headquarter in Lugano, Switzerland. It took the team 11 years to launch operations in 29 countries, to create a Global Administrative and Operational Hub in Romania and to cover with their operations almost all the EU countries, USA, Brazil, Turkey, India & China.

While starting as a local CRO, their aspirations always were to become a full service global CRO – and it happened in 2017, after 10 years of experience and expertise in different regulatory environments. Today, CEBIS is a global CRO headquartered in Switzerland which is a result of hard work, dedication, and passion.

As the President and CEO of CEBIS, Mihai is responsible for providing strategic leadership for the company by working with the management to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies. As CEBIS’ President he sets the policies and strategic direction for the company, both for the near term and for the foreseeable future. It is his responsibility to ensure the company follows its mission, policies and procedures that are in place, and is profitable. He also drives the team of executives to guide and oversee their departments and the managers who report to them, so they stay on track towards reaching their agreed upon goals. He regularly asks for verbal updates and formal reports so to always know where each department and the company as a whole stands. Mihai is the founder of CEBIS International.

As part of the CCE-R initiative meant to bring member managers under the spotlight, we had the opportunity to address Mihai few questions from both human and professional perspectives. Enjoy the interview down below!

1. What does a working day look like for you?

Every day is different, but each one begins the same way: with a cup of delicious coffee and a rundown of what's on the schedule for the day. There are important matters, urgent concerns, management meetings, and appointments with clients or authorities to attend. In our company, there is just no time to allow yourself to become bored. And then there is also my team, with whom I have the privilege to work each day and in which creativity, ideas, and problem-solving are all regular occurrences.

2. How is Mihai Manolache outside the office?

When you need to run a family business at this level, the amount of responsibility that comes with it can be overwhelming. It is possible that there is no difference whether you are inside or outside of the office. Being humble, kind, and friendly is something that just comes naturally to most people. The time I spend away from the office with my family and my friends is the kind of time I consider to be of the highest possible caliber.

3. Tell us about one important project you’re working on this year.

A patient support program that is going to be established as part of a European cancer initiative is one of the most important projects that has been launched this year. This project will be developed in several EU countries, and it will target each stage that is described in the European Cancer Beating Plan. These stages are prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, and quality of life. Patients who have been diagnosed with cancer will benefit greatly from this project, and they will also receive the required support from our end to better comprehend the disease and to manage their treatment in a manner that is appropriate for them. We have assembled an enormous group of nurses, clinical psychologists, and medical nutritionists specifically for the purpose of working on this project, and we have also devoted a team of Health Navigators to it.

4. What was one big innovation your industry has benefited from over the last few years?

We are an industry leader in patient adherence, and across all our patient support programs, we have achieved adherence rates of greater than 95%. The combination of technological advancement and active participation of our health navigators is our most significant innovation. The advantages for patients are enormous: it is the first step toward accepting, complying with, and remaining committed to their treatment to get an understanding of their disease and treatment. Satisfaction includes physicians, patients, and other stakeholders of the healthcare environment.

5. What’s one great challenge the industry you’re operating in is currently facing?

Because we operate in a variety of different markets, we are confronted with a large number of obstacles on a daily basis. One of them is the administrative burden that comes with obtaining licenses or authorizations for our activities, such as the fact that there is still a lot of paper work to be done, there are few specialists working for the authority, the evaluation process takes a long time, etc.

6. What’s your current hobby?

Even though I must choose between going on long walks in new places and off-roading, I believe that off-roading is my primary hobby at the moment.

7. Who is your favorite author?

I enjoy learning about the development of religions through the study of historical texts. If we examine the origins of each religion, we can theorize about how humans have developed over the course of history and provide explanations for a great many other events in more recent times. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion by Mircea Eliade is the one that I think is the best, so far.

8. What piece of advice would you give to a newly appointed CEO / young entrepreneur?

Young entrepreneurs should take heed of the following words of wisdom: "If you have a good idea and you can imagine where this idea can bring you, never give up! Work hard, and believe in yourself, and you will succeed."