Five minutes at DCAT with …
Philipp Haas is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of DEVA.
DEVA is a Turkish pharmaceuticals company with some 400 products in its product portfolio in 13 different therapeutic and exports all over the world. Philipp Haas was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2006, the same year that EastPharma acquired a majority stake.
PH: What is the background of DEVA?
Haas: DEVA was established by doctors and pharmacists in 1958 to make APIs, antibiotics and finished dosage forms in Turkey. Pharmaceutical products were not easily obtainable in Turkey then, because it was a small and closed market and imports were restricted. EastPharma has injected a significant amount of new capital into DEVA since taking over. We already had hundreds of products at that point and realised we needed to renew the facilities. Old facilities were closed, new ones were built within the same sites and products were transferred in. At the time, this was Europe’s biggest pharmaceutical investment, at around €250 million. Now we have US FDA and EU approval for our factories. We regarded production as a key strategic capability that we wanted to keep and develop further, so we did. In 2006, DEVA sold about 60 million units/year, now it is around 200 million. Currently, in terms of market share, DEVA Holding is ranked as 2nd with 6.2% MS in unit sales according to IMS data for 2016-end.
PH: Are the products sold under the DEVA name?
Haas: Yes. We have a strong presence in the Turkish market with that name – it stands for ‘Physicians, Drugs and Equipment’ in Turkish and also means ‘healing’. DEVA has become a household name and the public is also aware of our corporate developments and our EU and FDA approvals, so we have a really high standing in the market. Sometimes when everything was changing, it was hard to find new personnel but now people want to join us. We are a dynamic company, listed on the stock market – and salaries are always paid on time, which is not always the case in this market.
PH: What about abroad?
Haas: Abroad, we have two business models: out-licensing our products to other pharmaceutical companies to be sold under their own name and distribution partnerships where the products are sold under our own brand. When we created our German subsidiary, we looked for a brand new name and came up with ‘Devatis’. And as for the exports from DEVA, as of December of 2016 we obtained license approvals of over 400 products in several countries including developed and EU countries.
PH: Have you any particular therapies that you specialise in?
Haas: We cover almost all therapeutic areas. We have traditionally been strong in antibiotics but we have been building our presence in others and have put a lot of investment into respiratory drugs. Recently, we’ve launched our first generic respiratory drug and built a facility for it. We are planning to launch it and other generics in Europe and the US too. We also launched a number of new generics in Turkey last year, especially oncology drugs like Imatinib and Lenalidomide, among other products for haematology.
PH: Do you cover the whole product chain?
Haas: Mostly we produce finished dosage forms. In some cases, we also make our own APIs, but it is difficult to make most APIs cost-competitively as the Indian and Chinese manufacturer. We had to restructure our API activities and now we produce mostly specialised APIs for early stage development of our own generics, like Imatinib.
PH: What is your take on the outlook for pharma production worldwide?
Haas: The presence of Indian and Chinese companies has increased a lot. But Turkey is very promising. I am more confident in Turkey’s environment for producing quality pharmaceuticals, because Turkish people are hardworking, honest and ambitious. As DEVA, our excellence in product quality is confirmed. Our EU-GMP certified and FDA approved facilities, operate at a higher standards than most European and US manufacturers. For these reasons, I am optimistic about production in Turkey.