By Angela Priestley

The first major global pharmaceutical company dedicated to women’s health has just listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with Nirelle Tolstoshev leading the local Australian team.

Organon is a newly formed Fortune 500 company that listed on the NYSE on Thursday. It’s spun off from Merck & Co, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical businesses, and launches with a strong portfolio of women’s health products that have collectively delivered US$6.53 billion in sales over the past year. It claims to be the only company of its size focused on women’s health.

It aims to build on some of the dire gaps in women’s health internationally, with many arguing that the women’s health space has been neglected by much of big pharma in recent years. It has 9000 employees globally and a portfolio of 60 women’s health products and a presence on 140 countries.

Speaking from the company’s new Australian office in Macquarie Park, Sydney, Nirelle said the company aims to address women’s needs across different therapeutic areas.

“We really think wonen’s health is a key pillar across women’s equity on all the conversations across society,” Nirelle told Women’s Agenda on the launch.  

“We strive for a healthier everyday, we know when women are healthy the ripple effect for the community and their family is good for society and for all of us.”

Nirelle said Organon will invest heavily in research, with the goal of unlocking and advancing treatments across a wide range of women’s health needs — including endometriosis, menopause, period pain, and women’s cancers — and to give women access to more contraceptive and reproductive services. 

With global capabilities across clinical development, patient safety, regulatory and medical affairs, the company says it is well positioned to idenfify promising new drugs, diagnostics and devices that can significant improve women’s health.

Nirelle says that for too long the uniqure and specific health needs of women have failed to be properly recognised, especially given a history of pharmaceutical trials failing to adequately include women up until three decades ago.

“More must be done to improve women’s health,” she says. “Organon will focus on women’s everyday health needs, including her reproductive health, her unique health issues, as well as conditions that disproportionately affect women. Improving health outcomes of women will benefit all Australians today and into the future.”

Nirelle comes to the position after working with the company the business was spun off from to create this new entity. 

She’s already leading a team of 90 in Australia, which is expected to grow quickly. 

Organon’s ringing of the bell in New York today also featured a multimedia campaign called ‘Wall of Voices’, an installation aiming to share the perspectives of different women, highlighting the need to listen and act on women’s experiences.

From Australia, City Fertility NSW Managing Director Dr Devora Lieberman, shared her voice on the installation, noting that: “All young women should have the information they need to develop a reproductive life plan which will allow them the best opportunity to achieve their family planning goals.”

Organon's launch on the New York Stock Exchange on June 3.
Organon’s launch on the New York Stock Exchange on June 3.

Globally, Organon will be led by CEO Kevin Ali, who said that the time is right to bring “more options for women and healthcare providers to help shape the future of women’s health.”

Globally its board is 70% female, higher than most other Fortune 500 companies and boasting the highest female representation across listed big pharma businesses.


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