Gilead Sciences has experienced rapid growth over the past few years growing to a market cap in excess of $70 billion. As a result of this growth, the treasury processes lacked the ability to further scale. Many of the processes were manual in nature. Common problems included multiple wire platforms (no standardisation), re-keying of data and no real-time visibility of many accounts. Fundamentally, there was a lack of systems integration (where systems existed) and a lack of automation. This was compounded by the small size of the treasury team (eight of which are responsible for cash, investments, foreign exchange (FX) and capital markets).
Photo of Martin Cussen, Gilead Sciences collecting on behalf of Brad Vollmer and Joy Macknight.
Treasurer, Foster City, California, US
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercialises innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need. The company strives to transform and simplify care for people with life-threatening illnesses around the world. Gilead’s portfolio of products and pipeline of investigational drugs includes treatments for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, serious respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, cancer and inflammation.
Given the overall growth trajectory of the company and the upcoming potential launch of a new product that would require infrastructure build-up in several new countries, the treasury team wanted to move rapidly towards treasury automation to effectively support the business needs. The key steps to achieving this were the identification of the following:
Scope of the project and developing a systems roadmap/project plan.
Technologies needed to support the scope.
Team that would allow for a rapid and efficient implementation.
The following major systems and implementation partners were chosen as a result of their extensive knowledge of treasury and their hands on approach:
Walking Man Software (WMS) – Orbit Treasury Management System (TMS) was chosen to achieve straight through processing (STP) in treasury operations from transaction inception to accounting (cloud-based).
SWIFT – Alliance Lite2 was picked for connecting to SWIFT and creating a bank agnostic platform (cloud-based).
Deloitte – Deloitte’s Treasury Advisory team was selected as the project management experts to allow the company to meet an aggressive timeline and provide additional technical support.
In isolation, many of the components of the project are not new (with the exception of SWIFT’s Alliance Lite2).
There are, however, two unique things about the Gilead project:
The speed at which the end-to-end implementation (of the project) was completed. In seven and a half months, the project team implemented an end-to-end system (with full integration) that standardises, scales and automates processes which then allows valuable resources to spend time on analysis.
Nearly all of the technologies linked together are cloud-based. The automation project links nine systems and Gilead’s largest cash management banks in more than 30 countries across 39 legal entities.
The solution provides the eight person treasury team with the tools to help manage over $2 billion of investments, more than $8 billion of debt, $4 billion of FX and 130 bank accounts. Gilead’s treasury team now has the tools to scale. Real-time visibility and STP are the norm. Controls are improved and the team now spends less time processing transactions and more time analysing data. The solution allows treasury to do more with less while being bank agnostic.
As Vollmer concludes, “Gilead now has an end-to-end solution that enables finance to scale its growing business as it adds new entities. It also reduces/eliminates the manual processing of data due to the high level of STP (automation). The finance team now has the tools that allow standardisation and to improve efficiency. In seven and a half months, the cross-finance team implemented an automation project that could have taken years to build. Not only did the automation benefit treasury, it created bank agnostic plumbing for the future as it enabled use of XML files for payments via FileAct.”