Five minutes at CPhI worldwide with …
ChemistryToday/PharmaHorizon: What technologies make Unither unique?
Éric Chesnel: Unither is a CDMO focused on niche technologies such as blow filled seal (BFS) for sterile unit doses. This is a technology used especially for asthma and rhinology. We manufacture this year a bit more than 2.8 billion units from four plants, three in France (Amiens, Coutances, Gannat) and one in Rochester,New York, in the US. The second one is liquid stick packs: the idea is to provide an easy packaging solution to facilitate drug delivery to patients.
CT/PH: What innovation do you see in oral dosage forms?
EC: Our strategy is to offer the patient a ready-to-use solution, that any time, at any moment, can be taken without the need of a spoon or anything else. We offer this solution for all dosage forms and now we have the capability to develop solutions in our R&D site in [Bordeaux – France] We have a proof of concept in development with a new delivery form, that has already been patented. While it is made of solid granules, it can be inserted in a liquid stick pack or it can be put in tablets.
CT/PH: Does the elderly segment of the population drive this innovation?
EC: Yes. Our dosage forms are a way to ensure that this kind of patients -as much as young children- can use a product in a solid or liquid form, when only a very small quantity is needed.
CT/PH: How was 2017 and what do you forecast for next year?
EC: We are based in France but we have operations in China, South America and North America. We are still growing in EU, US and Brazil. Acquisition is part of our expansion model but it is only one way to grow -we aim at growing organically as well. However acquisitions allowed us to implement new technologies and conquer new markets. For example we acquired the UCB pharmaceutical plant in Rochester, US -we continue to produce UCB products but we are eager to promote and supply the US market with the BFS and liquid stick packs.
CT/PH: And what about the Far East?
EC: We are present in China by offering also regulatory support and we will present new technologies during the first quarter of 2018. China is the second-largest pharmaceutical market after the US and is still growing very fastly. We want to be in the position to supply this market in the best possible way by manufacturing locally.
CT/PH: How do you compare with CMO/CDMOs that aim to be a one-stop solution? What puts you on top of the competition?
EC: We want to be a reference in our technologies, and each of these technologies is aimed to be the preferred solution by our customers, in order to facilitate the daily lives of any kind of patients. We believe that it is better to be focused this way, since when your offer it too generalist, too broad, then it is very hard to be a technological point of reference.