DCAT Week ’18 – 1st day review
On the first day of DCAT Week in New York, we met with company executives from around the world but also Margaret Timony, executive director of DCAT.
She has been involved in organising this event for 19 years, from when it first evolved from being basically the annual dinner and a few suites for meetings.DCAT Week has grown this year in terms of the number of meeting suites, requests to go to different events and so forth. Over 700 companies and 10,000 people are participating, nearly half of them ‘C-suite’ senior executives. Meeting spaces are dotted across seven hotels around midtown.
Marco Gil, Senior Director – Commercial Services at Portuguese company Hovione, told us that business levels are very good, both for its CDMO business and in off-patent APIs. The company has continued to invest in enabling technologies, notably spray-drying.
“The CDMO business is very busy right now, not just Hovione,” he said. “That comes from many investment programmes that are going on, the industry is well funded, there is a lot of activity and CDMOs are benefitting from that. And large pharma companies are continuing to divest assets.”
Jim Gregory, CEO of the US-based CDMO, UPM Pharmaceuticals, is very optimistic about US-based pharmaceutical manufacturing, saying that the FDA is cracking down much more than before on Indian and Chinese manufacturers. The company is seeing a lot of comment in the trade press and on the FDA website about Form 483s with significant errors.
“It should be the same playing field for all, if not from a cost point of view at least from a quality and regulatory point of view,” he said. “We are seeing many companies who did a lot of business in China and India and are now running to the US, or just wanting a secondary supplier.”
French pharma company Servier has recently set up a CDMO business, formalising the work that had come to it mostly by requests from companies sourcing in areas they were already based. Managing director Dr Gwenael Servant said that the company’s USP is based in being privately owned with an extremely low turnover of staff, so that it can build long-term relationships with clients over the many years of development involved in developing new drugs.
Lonza’s Pharma & Biotech business is also seeing strong growth in demand, according to Dr Sylke Hassel, SVP and Head of the
Mammalian Manufacturing business unit. This week is seeing the start-up of a new mammalian cell unit in Singapore to complement existing facilities in Europe and the US.
Christopher Kulp, EVP of custom synthesis firm Richman Chemical, was paying a one-day visit but said that he always finds DCAT Week useful. The company has been growing its business by providing comprehensive – and sometimes unusual – chemistry services to small start-ups, often out of academia. Business is very strong at this end of the development chain too, he said.
A relatively new player is Frontida BioPharm, but Chief Operating Officer Ron Connolly is a veteran of 23 DCAT Weeks. The company was in New York to market the AdaptDose technology, which, Connolly said, is a highly innovative way to streamline the scale-up and dosing of new medicines.
This is one of Frontida’s first forays and some 100 meetings have been set up for the week.
reference DCAT Week ‘18