Five minutes at CPhI North America with
Oriol Prat, Director of IV Solutions and Contract Manufacturing at Grifols International
PH: Who are Grifols?
Prat: Grifols is a global healthcare company focused on human protein therapies, diagnostic solutions and products and tools for medical care delivery. We have three primary divisions – Bioscience, Diagnostic and Hospital – which are active in over 90 countries. The part of the company here is the contract manufacturing division.
PH: And what is that division’s focus?
Prat: It offers services for contract development and manufacturing for third parties, focused solely on non-biological sterile injectable products – mostly in flexible packaging, some glass vials but our core expertise is in flexible bags. We started manufacturing flexible bags in PVC 40 years ago and 15 years ago we moved into polypropylene (PP), which we still use. Usually, the customer has a dossier and transfers manufacturing to our site. We have multi-purpose site near Barcelona, where we produce PP bags and glass vials. At Murcia in the south of Spain, we have a fully dedicated plant with four form-fill-seal lines for PP bags.
PH: How is business this year?
Prat: Quite good. In fact, this is the second time we have been at CPhI in the States – there was a first attempt in 2007 which did not continue – and we are happy with the meetings and relations we were able to have. We have had meetings with existing customers but also new leads and contacts and they are quite promising.
PH: Your results showed strong growth last year. What is driving that – the general upturn in demand for the market or new technologies taking off?
Prat: We have been growing in the last few years in this particular business and that is basically because there are few companies dealing with flexible bags. PP bags are a growing market for pharma companies. One of our strategies is to offer to manage the life-cycle of products. If a customer has a concentrated drug in a liquid vial, we can offer to move to a ready-to-use and flexible bag, which is what the market is demanding.
PH: Is that because of the flexibility they offer in delivery to the patients?
Prat: Exactly. It is basically a question of safety for patients and making work easier for nurses because when you have a concentrated drug in the vial, you have to pre-dilute it to give to the patient. Ready-to-use products do not need any compound: you can avoid mistakes that can occur when you compound a concentrated drug and any potential contamination from manipulation.
PH: Are the drugs delivered in your bags mainly biologicals?
Prat: No, not at all. Grifols is actually well known as a biologics company for plasma products, it’s the third largest player worldwide in human plasma products but our purpose here is to offer our services as a CDMO for non-biological products.
PH: Are you seeing a lot of interest from Big Pharma companies who haven’t used your services before?
Prat: Yes. The trend is to have products ready to use, to avoid any manipulation and that is what we are offering.