Robert Hardy, chief executive of Aesica
Do you see a new industry trend emerging?
The most significant recent change is Big Pharma's realization that their massive infrastructures for development and manufacture are no longer sustainable in an environment where new chemical entities (NCEs) are harder and harder to bring to market. This realization has prompted mergers that starkly highlighted the new companies' manufacturing overcapacity. Most Big Pharma companies now are closely evaluating the long-term benefits of their site capabilities.
One of the current trends is Big Pharma's commitment to remain with products after their patent expiries. To do so, they are looking at alternative, more cost-effective manufacturing sources. The benefits of flexibility, swift commercialization, minimal capital expenditure, and low scale-up costs are the key factors behind the significant market growth in contract manufacturing. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly realizing the benefits of outsourcing manufacturing and packaging, which traditionally were managed in-house.
Moreover, pharmaceutical companies are looking to contract manufacturing companies to provide them with specialist technologies and facilities. Contractors can share the overhead of managing specific suites, either for sterile, controlled, or high-containment drugs. The increasing number of biopharmaceutical NCEs is rapidly boosting demand for specialist aseptic filling and lyophilization facilities. Biotechnology companies, the drivers of much of this innovation, are looking to contract development and manufacturing organizations to provide this first so they can avoid the risks of capital investment. They do not have to factor in time for capital investment into their development program, which could delay commercialization and extend time to market.
What is the most common demand your clients are currently making of you?
Clients expect the exact same service as delivered in previous years, but the challenging economic climate brings pressure to deliver services at increasingly competitive costs. The real key is to provide added value throughout the duration of the contract. It is possible to overcome such challenges by extending and enhancing one's capabilities.