“Not a scientist, but a lobbyist” – Libero Quotidiano


Lorenzo Gottardo

That from that great cauldron of the General States, inaugurated yesterday in Rome by the premier Giuseppe Conte in the face of the most influential protagonists of the European scenario, some concrete news were to come out, as well as promises and reflections, it was at least desirable. To arrive, however, is one of the most important and awaited news not only by Italians, but by all Europeans. Because, in the afternoon, the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza announces the long awaited and finally achieved, agreement on the Covid-19 vaccine. “Together with the ministers of Germany, France and Holland, after launching the vaccine alliance in recent days, I signed a contract with AstraZeneca for the supply of up to 400 million doses to be destined for the whole European population”.

The government wakes up:

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The one created by the pharmaceutical multinational is, on the one hand, the most promising of the studies conducted so far to find a cure for the virus, but, on the other, it also represents an effective example of collaboration between different companies, including Italian ones, in the sector. Developed in the London laboratories of Oxford University, where it is still in the testing phase, the vaccine was designed in partnership with the Italian Irbm of Pomezia and, only later, saw the entry of AstraZeneca with the its resources and skills. And behind this all-Italian miracle is Piero Di Lorenzo, an entrepreneur who climbs onto the Irbm stage at the end of 2009, when the company from Pomezia was on the brink of abyss. The Irbm, in fact, was born in 1990 from a joint venture between two drug giants, Merck and Sigma Tau, to operate in the field of virology, genetic engineering and biotechnology. European luminaries arrive in the laboratories and the Pomezia company manages to find a key drug for the fight against AIDS. Everything seems to be going well, but Merck is in crisis, she decides to cut and Irbm ends up under the ax.

This is where it pops up Piero Di Lorenzo. He senses the company’s potential and takes over the assets and real estate from Merck, many of the state-of-the-art scientific equipment, indispensable to continue the research activity, as well as a series of projects covered by a patent. The company is safe and the business starts again. In two years the balance of balance arrives, the hiring of one hundred researchers, the collaboration with the CNR and with the Higher Institute of Health, committed by foreign universities. “For me I claim the financial activity, to the researchers who initially looked at me like a Martian I leave full freedom in scientific work,” explained Di Lorenzo some time ago. Whose career, in fact, would seem more distant from the image of those who lead an important pharmaceutical company: no study in medicine and chemistry, indeed a degree in Law at the Sapienza University of Rome and then an incredible number of work experiences that they turned him into a communication professional.

And perhaps here lies the secret of his and Irbm’s success in Pomezia: the ability to make tangible what for the moment are only ideas and also the ability to sit at the table with companies in the sector, even much larger , and enter into agreements that bring benefits and solutions to everyone. In short, to put it simply, the president of Irbm is a “lobbyist”, a word commonly used in the States but difficult to pronounce here in Italy. As if it were a crime for a professional to use the skills and knowledge acquired to obtain better results, in full compliance with the rules, for their company. Probably, President Di Lorenzo does not have such a drastic opinion on the lobbies, so much so that he has even written a book on the subject. «Lobby lessons», made in four hands with the journalist Mino Fuccillo, whose premise, engraved on the cover, also anticipates his thought: «Not only the powers, but also the citizens organize themselves in the lobby and democracy must remake his accounts. “

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