Five minutes at CPhI worldwide with …
Chemistry Today/Pharma Horizon: What kind of capabilities do you offer as a CMO?
Elise Mous: Everything that we do is related to fermentation technology since more than 50 years -the company is active in pharmaceutical manufacturing since 1958. We are not biased in terms of organisms: we deal with a lot of bacterial, yeast and fungal organisms. Capua is expanding more in the process and development field to support scale-up and, eventually, manufacturing. The main focuses in terms of production for Capua are small molecules, proteins, enzymes or microorganisms as such (the so-called “bug as a drug”),, used in the pharma food, feed or other bioindustry application.
CT/PH: Do you also help in development, designing biomolecules for example?
EM: We do not directly design enzymes or biomolecules for our customers; however we have a large network of collaborators in this respect that we can link with. We are really focused on manufacturing. However, we do develop and optimize fermentation and downstream processes.
CT/PH: You do not aim to be a one-stop solution, then?
EM: Outsourcing and the timing of decision making are becoming ever more complex. It is more difficult for clients to figure out when and how to decide. In CMO you sell a solution it is never a one-size-fits-all. It is important to get with the client as early as possible and see to understand what they need, how you can play into it and at what point in time, in order to offer total solutions. What we have been doing was first, expanding our piloting and developing capabilities; we are building a new dedicated pilot lab facility in Capua to facilitate the onboarding of new projects, scale-up and troubleshooting. And on the backend side we instead opened this year a big spray-drying facility.
CT/PH: Are the microorganisms per se a large part of your market?
EM: It’s not our largest part, but we see lots of requests from the microbiome developments, probiotics and agrochemical industry for example.
CT/PH: What about extremophile organisms?
EM: We could, in principle. It would really depend on the level of extreme conditions needed, so we can evaluate that on a case by case basis to see if it fits with our plants. It can be a hot topic for some small biotech niches.
CT/PH: And from the pharmaceutical side?
EM: Small molecules, anti-biotics, (except beta-lactams; we are a 100% beta-lactam free site) and enzymes, including biocatalysis or other peptides, proteins and fragments used in API manufacturing. Concerning biologicals, compounds that require oral or topical applications typically fit very well with our fairly large vessel sizes, due to the often larger volume requirements.
CT/PH: What are the technological highlights of Capua BioServices?
EM: It is very difficult to pin point one. Our value is mostly in the immense know-how that our employees have accumulated in the past 50 years of manufacturing, the tremendous variety of compounds and molecules we have manufactured and the depth of understanding on how to make a process work at the required quality standard. The way our plants are set up allows a lot of flexibility, which combined with the know-how created a competitive edge for Capua as compared to other CMOs. Also, we are a small to mid-size company, totally independent, and this allows us to be fast and flexible. We can sell them a full solution, not just a product.
CT/PH: Geographically, where are you focused?
EM: So far we mostly see activity from and focus on US and Europe. We are scoping emerging countries as well, however. The trend of companies to outsource volumes it is going to continue, and we are curious to see what form it will take for emerging markets. On the other hand, there is perhaps more local manufacturing for regional use than outsourcing coming from there.
CT/PH: What do you see in the future of Capua BioServices?
EM: The current situation is very good, Capua is definitely growing in the CMO space. We cut out from our previous mother company and now it’s all about the brand recognition, getting customers to know us, create experiences, fine tuning the positioning, spreading the word. And this is definitely something we will continue to focus also next year: we want the world to know that we exist!