Recipharm is positioning itself as a full-service player able to satisfy the needs of pharmaceutical companies from development
to commercialization. "We're taking over plants from the large pharma companies in order to meet the requirement of smaller
ones wanting help with the development and manufacture of their products," says Quick.
Contract manufacturer Hovione, a Portuguese-based API development and manufacturing specialist, has made one of its biggest
expansion moves in recent years with the acquisition in November of Pfizer's API plant for Lipitor (atorvastatin) at Loughbeg,
"Pfizer offered us an agreement for the supply of Lipitor APIs from the plant, but we declined it," says Guy Vilax, Hovione's
chief executive. "It's a high quality facility, and we want it to be a center for new API development and manufacture.
"I think it is clear that the pharma industry is under very severe pressure and that its operating model will have to change
quite dramatically with the obvious trend being a desegregation of the three key elements of discovery, sales and marketing
and manufacture," he continues. "We're now entering the era of the specialist pharmaceutical manufacturer who will be able
to handle everything from clinical trial quantities to bulk production."
The best-placed contract manufacturers in Europe are likely to be those who are active in biopharmaceuticals, potentially
the fastest growing segment for outsourcing and medicinal chemicals. Leading contract manufacturer Lonza (Basel) reported
a 9% rise in exclusive synthesis and biopharmaceutical sales last year, but much of that growth came from the chemicals side.
On the other hand, the Swiss company clinched during the year long-term biological manufacturing deals with Novartis (Basel)
and Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. In the coming years, contract manufacturers will need to be able to offset growth
in one business against a slowdown in the other.
Sean Milmo is a freelance science writer based in Essex, England.