DCAT Week ’18 – 3rd day review
DCAT Week ’18 entered its third day on what is often seen as the first day of spring. So inevitably a winter storm tore into New York from the north-east, with snow falling from morning to night. Pharma Horizon continues to tour the official hotels speaking to leading players in all parts of the industry. Almost all remain highly optimistic about business.
Among the largest CDMOs is Lonza Pharma & Biotech. Dr Christian Dowdeswell introduced the Dosage Forms & Delivery Systems business unit, which he heads. It combines the drug product services offering that came with the Capsugel acquisition and the Micromacinazione site in Italy.
“Buying Capsugel gained us access to a network of sites around drug product services, where we have tools that help us address some of our customers’ key challenges in small molecules,” Dowdeswell said, mentioning poor solubility, high potency and ever accelerating time to market, among others.
Similarly, Dr Andrew Bulpin of Millipore Sigma introduced the newly established business unit he heads, called Process Solutions. This combines the filtration, chromatography excipients and APIs part of MerckMillipore with Sigma-Aldrich’s cell culture media, most of its contract manufacturing, high potency and the contract testing organisation BioReliance.
Much of the recent investment here has been in Asia, Bulpin agreed. “But we have also doubled capacity for gene therapy at Carlsbad and had a big expansion at our life sciences centre at Burlington, Massachusetts.”
The Pharma Solutions and Catalysts business of BASF are both present to highlight their capabilities. Pratibhash Chattopadhyay, business director of Pharma Solutions in North America, told us that the focus here is on the six major platforms it offers to address customers’ pain points, with solubilisation and instant/modified release among them.
BASF has also recently committed to building a world-scale plant for ibuprofen at its verbund site in Ludwigshafen. This is the first of its kind in Europe but, despite ongoing price pressures in generics, the company chose this site for reasons of technical capacity and supply chain security.
Abzena, which describes itself as an integrated end-to-end solutions and technology CDMO in the biopharma space from discovery through manufacturing, was present for the first time at DCAT Week. Chief Business Officer Sven Lee said that the company is going through growth at all 3 sites starting with new labs and GMP bioconjugation suite at its facility in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Abzena saw the event “the perfect opportunity to show the capabilities and capacities we have there”.
Abzena recently moved into a newly constructed facility at its other major sites such as Cambridge, UK which it has consolidated two buildings into a brand new single site for our Chemistry and Biology solutions and technologies. Abzena also announced it has just signed a new lease for their new 50,000 sqft purposely built single use facility to offer an integrated biomanufacturing capability in San Diego, CA. Abzena was excited to share their cell line development, cell banking, process development including their already available new Ambr™ 250 and 500L SUB to fulfill their plans to have a range of 50L-2000L SUBs at their new facility.
Salvat Biotech is a Barcelona-based pharma company that is also strongly present in the US. Frank Padron, head of North American sales and marketing, said that the company has two FDA-approved products here and that North America is its main target for expansion in the near future.
This was also the first DCAT Week for Salvat, though it goes to many other global meetings. “We really enjoyed it and we really like the fact that it’s down to business meetings,” Padron said.
Massachusetts-based CRO PCI Synthesis is celebrating its 20th anniversary, a fourth successive year of double-digit growth and two new approvals. This takes it total to eight commercial products, said company president Ed Price.
Having previously invested mainly in infrastructure to boost capacity, in the last two years PCI has focused more on technology. It has added significant new cryogenic capacity, a reactor made from specialised glass to handle reflux HCl at high temperatures and a large-scale chromatography system, among other things.
Exeris was only founded in June 2017. Sales manager Steven Spardel, an industry veteran, introduced the firm as a manufacturers’ representative, which forms exclusive arrangements to market its clients’ custom manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical chemical industry, both the end user pharma companies and CMOs, so that the supply chain is more transparent. “Our model is to be a CMO to CMOs,” he said.