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Randi Hernandez was science editor at Pharmaceutical Technology from September 2014 to May 2017.
Company representatives said a bulk of the increase was due to strong sales of its bioprocessing products.
Repligen reported a revenue increase of 45% at constant currency in the fourth quarter of 2015, which was driven primarily by strong growth in sales of its bioprocessing products, Jon K. Snodgrass, CFO of Repligen, noted during a fourth-quarter conference call. Specifically, the increased revenue came from the sales of its growth factors, ATF (alternating tangential flow) systems and consumables, and products from its chromatography group (e.g., OPUS columns, Protein A resins, and ELISA kits).
Tony J. Hunt, CEO of Repligen, said that the company's ATF system was instrumental in the company's success. Repligen obtained the ATF system through its acquisition of Refine Technology on June 2, 2014. The ATF system contributed to more than $15 million in Repligen’s 2015 revenue, which represents 40% growth in this business from 2014 figures. Additionally, Hunt said the company saw a 30% market increase in the use of benchtop units. "During Q4 we saw an acceleration and adoption of our ATF product portfolio as customers scaled up and implemented the ATF Systems in late-stage and commercial processes. This reinforces our position that the ATF technology is increasingly becoming an industry standard when it comes to improving cell-culture fermentation yields and streamlining cell harvesting."
New chromatography clients
Although the company's main clients for its OPUS prepacked chromatography columns had historically been contract manufacturing organizations, the company is now getting more orders directly from pharmaceutical companies. Hunt said, "In fact, in 2015 we had greater than 50% increase in revenues from large pharma. A small but growing number of these large pharma customers are now beginning to commit to going 100% to prepack columns." In response, the company plans to add more capacity for OPUS columns and will add sales representatives to areas outside of Europe, where 50% of the company's direct sales currently occur.
Long-term agreements with key vendors renewed
There are more monoclonal antibody products in the pipeline than ever before, which Hunt said will continue to help its Protein A ligands business. He noted that GE Healthcare signed on to extend its long-term supply agreement so that Repligen would be its main supplier of recombinant and native forms of ligands until the end of 2019. Repligen's supply agreement with Merck Millipore for growth factors and other products will also be extended until 2023, he noted.
An increase in biosimilars will support Repligen’s future business
Hunt mentioned that whether a company is working on the development of an innovator molecule or a biosimilar, they will still need the same materials to complete the work, and Repligen is prepared to support both types of manufacturers. "So whether it is an originator molecule that moves through Phase III into approval or it’s a biosimilar, we’re agnostic because from a Protein A ligand point of view, its purely a volume play … we will ship to our top two customers in GE and Millipore the same amount of ligand to do purification of a biosimilar as [we] would [for] the purification of an originator molecule."
Sources: Seeking Alpha, Repligen