Five minutes with Pratibhash Chattopadhyay, Business Director – North America, BASF Pharma Solutions – DCAT Week ‘18
PH: Please introduce BASF Pharma Solutions and what they are showing here.
Chattopadhyay: BASF Pharma Solutions has six major platform solutions: Instant & Modified Release, Solubilisation, Skin Delivery, Softgels, Biologic Solutions and APIs. They address unmet needs in the market that we have identified from speaking to our customers and finding out what their pain points are.
PH: Can you give some specific examples?
Chattopadhyay: Sure. Solubilisation, for example, is one of the toughest, yet most common challenges in the pharmaceutical industry, in part because of the advent of new molecular entities requiring modern formulation solutions to achieve the desired solubility and bioavailability. In our Solubilisation platform, we bundle our deep expertise in chemistry and solubilisation technologies to find solutions for our customers. We consider ourselves leaders in surfactant chemistry and polymer chemistry.
PH: Are you showcasing any particular innovations here?
Chattopadhyay: DCAT is for us a key event to meet with our customers and talk about their needs. As an excipient provider we are not focused on new technologies, but on functionality of excipients that enable formulation of drugs in various process technologies. We have an in-depth understanding of multiple industries, technologies, and applications, we have the skills and resources to make drug manufacturing and drug delivery more efficient, robust, and cost-effective. Besides focussing on enabling drug formulation with our excipient solutions, a major focus is also on our APIs business. Here our strategy is to maintain our strong position in the market. Those APIs include ibuprofen, omega-3, PVP, menthol and others.
PH: BASF recently announced a plan to build a world-scale ibuprofen plant in Germany. What was the thinking behind that investment? Do you still see growth opportunities for such a mature product?
Chattopadhyay: Absolutely. Overall the demand for light painkillers is continuously growing, along with increasing per capita income and access to modern medicine in emerging countries, as well as an ageing population and increase of wealth related diseases like rheumatism. The latter will favour pain killers with anti-inflammatory action and will especially drive growth of ibuprofen. In the developed economies of North America and Europe, the flu season is a big driver for growth in demand for ibuprofen, so we see a good trend. Because of the tightness in supply, BASF has started to invest into capacity increase for ibuprofen with an expansion of our Bishop operations in Texas and a new production plant in Ludwigshafen.
PH: Why Germany?
Chattopadhyay: We looked at all of our sites globally and manufacturing at our main site in Ludwigshafen made sense for us. Ludwigshafen showed significant advantages in regards to patent protection and stable environment through integration in existing infrastructure. Additionally, among other benefits, the existing GMP infrastructure allows a faster go-to-market. The location in Europe has several advantages in regards to better delivery lead times. Currently there is no domestic ibuprofen production in Europe. Existing plants are all located in the US, China and India.
PH: How is business generally in the fields the Pharma Solutions business serves?
Chattopadhyay: We currently see a strong growth in the pharmaceutical excipient and API market. We are actively investing into additional capacities, i.e. in our PVP value chain, where we recently opened a new plant in Shanghai, China, and in our ibuprofen capacities of our Bishop, Texas, site and a new plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Nevertheless, we also feel increasing price pressure in the generics segment and an erosion of value.