PH3_2017 - page 10

CEO of Xellia Pharmaceuticals
A word with...
What was the plan when Xellia first emerged in
We were the market leader for almost all of our
anti-infectives, supplying more than half the world
market. Our aim was simply to take the APIs (Active
Pharmaceutical Ingredients), develop them into
formulations, have them registered and get them
onto the market. At the same time, we developed a
generic pipeline of new anti-infective injectables. In
2012, 3i decided to sell rather than invest in another
five to seven-year period. We were lucky to find
Novo Holdings A/S, which now owns us through
the same investment vehicle that owns Novo
Nordisk, Novozymes and holds more than 80 active
investments in the life science industry.
What was their plan when they acquired you?
Novo Holdings A/S bought the company to develop
it. Most Big Pharma companies have left the anti-
infective space and there is an unmet medical need.
It can be a financially challenging space, because
it is hard to get paid for developing new anti-
infectives. Nonetheless, with a long-term outlook
you can become a big player. Our APIs are mostly
fermentation-based and we and Novo Holdings
A/S both believe that fermentation manufacturing
processes can be maintained competitive through
technology and process improvements. You might
currently get a yield of 2-3 gm/litre but if you
can get it to 20-30, the economics become very
What investments have you made since changing
In 2014 we acquired a facility in Raleigh, North Carolina,
to make lyophilized vials, but we knew it would not
be enough.We considered expanding there or in
Copenhagen, but eventually we acquired the old Ben
Venue facility in Cleveland, Ohio, fromHikma; so we
will become a pretty sizeable player in the US injectable
market.We believed, even before PresidentTrump
started saying it, that ‘Made in the USA’ is a good thing.
In a highly regulated market like this, compliance is
the key success factor and many both domestic and
Asian based manufacturers have and still are struggling
with this.We believe there will be a payday if we are
willing to invest in the US to sell in the US.We have also
significantly expanded our formulation development lab
and capability in Zagreb. From the starting point in 2011
we will in 2017 exceed 100 people in Zagreb and have
been able to handpick some very talented employees.
You have moved from focusing on generics to being
an innovator. How did you go about that?
We first established a scientific advisory board and
looked at the existing and pipeline products; the way
products are delivered, evaluated potential drug
combinations and what can be done with the molecules
themselves through developing derivatives.We are
currently also analyzing all the anti-infective products
currently in clinical trials to see which we believe can
hold a promising future.We are too small to play a
role in basic research, but, we can play in this space
focus on Pharma Packaging and Excipients
vol. 1(3) 2017
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