As fine-chemical producers, contract manufacturers, and pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical companies meet this week in Madrid at CPhI Worldwide, what are the key issues on the minds of industry players?
It is no secret that the pharmaceutical industry continues to be in a period of transition as it faces slower growth compared with historical levels. Increased generic-drug incursion, shifting growth patterns to emerging markets, and the erosion of the blockbuster drug model to more specialized drugs have all contributed to placing new demands on contract service providers and fine-chemical suppliers as their pharmaceutical customers deal with these new realities. In speaking with CMOs and fine-chemical producers here this week at CPhI, many point to the increasingly strategic and collaborative nature of outsourced relationships, the greater emphasis placed on project management in executing those partnerships, and the attendant need for suppliers to adapt their business models to the reality of their pharmaceutical customers in facing a more resource-constrained environment.
The new reality, as one supplier explained, is that as pharmaceutical companies increase their level of external development and manufacturing, they are also obliged to deal with greater complexity in their supply chains. In general, suppliers cited an interest by pharmaceutical companies to manage their supply chains more efficiently by working with fewer suppliers, accessing contract service providers with broader capabilities to not only reduce the number of suppliers working on a given project but to also make technology transfer and project workflow more time- and cost-efficient. Suppliers also noted the increased importance of project management and the related expertise of contract service providers in not only managing their direct relationships with sponsor companies but also in facilitating the activities resulting from the external network of suppliers that a given project may entail.
That emphasis on collaboration and project facilitation is also evident in the partnerships that contract service providers are forming with each other. For example, at CPhI this week, Almac and DSM announced a partnership in biocatalysis. The agreement grants both parties access to enzyme platform technologies, services and expertise, with Almac offering expertise in enzyme identification, scale-up, and implementation of early-phase projects and DSM providing capabilites for large-scale production. Earlier this year, Catalent Pharma Solutions and BASF formed a broad collaboration and open alliance to provide solutions to overcome bioavailability challenges of new molecular entities with solubility or permeability challenges. Last year, Hovione and Bend Research formed collaboration that married Hovione’s commercial-scale pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities with Bend Research’s oral drug-delivery, formulation, and process engineering expertise.
These examples show that the collaborative and strategic partnerships are not only at play among sponsor companies and their suppliers but among the contract service providers themselves as they seek to meet the needs of their customers in an evolving pharmaceutical industry.