Malta: A healthy location for the pharmaceutical industry - Pharmaceutical Executive


Malta: A healthy location for the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical Executive


Sergio Vella, Country Manager, Actavis
Malta investors, elucidating their operations on the island, demonstrate that commercial reality robustly corresponds with the intentions of the national government. Sergio Vella, managing director of Actavis Malta—a division of one of the largest generics manufacturers in the world—explains the rationale that his company employed in choosing the island for a large-scale facility. He concedes that the Bolar provision is a first enticement. But Vella explicates the more decisively persuasive factors: "strong fiscal and legislative incentives;" the "quality and talent of the people;" the renowned regulatory system; the "extremely supportive and proactive local authorities;" and Malta's recent EU membership.

Other pharmaceutical companies in Malta reiterate and expand upon Actavis's praise. Ian Restall, general manager of Metallform Malta—part of the German Metallform GmbH, a manufacturer of precision medical instruments—believes that his employees produce a superior output that is "as good as it is in Germany"—sound tribute, given the distinguished German manufacturing tradition.

Another generics company, the Spanish Corporación Medichem, has two facilities on the island, one for the manufacture of generic finished dosage forms—under the name Combino Pharm—and another for the development and manufacture of APIs, under the Medichem name. The Medichem plant manager, Dino Mangion, fondly remembers that the national administration greatly helped his company when Medichem first arrived, through "aid in the construction of facilities" and the supply of "professional advice and contacts."

Mangion's counterpart at Combino Pharm, plant manager Patrizio Allegrucci, will agree with the sentiments of his colleagues—and add that, despite the seeming labor shortage inherent in a minute population, the government dynamically works with the pharmaceutical players, doing its "utmost to shorten the gap" by partnering with companies to "embark on specific training programs."

Actavis' plant
Malta is a focal point of the global aspirations of its pharma enterprises. Actavis's Vella remarks, "The support and investment Actavis has received from its parent company is indicative of the faith they have in the local operations." Indeed, over the past six years, Actavis headquarters has invested about €50 million ($68 million) to develop and amplify its presence in the country—and it certainly capitalized on its investment. The generics it develops and manufactures in Malta are exported not only regionally, but also globally. And one of Malta's key functions is its capacity as a chief launch site for the group.

The Maltese subsidiaries of Corporación Medichem, too, accentuate Malta's role in the global activities of their principals. Clearly, with the dual operations of two disparate plants, Corporación Medichem chose Malta as a global center to encompass a comprehensive range of services. Mangion asserts, "In 2009, the Malta site contributed about 8% of the company's sales. In 2011, this should increase to about 35%." These Maltese enterprises have grown, and will continue to grow.

Metallform's Restall declares, "My advice would be to come to Malta!" He continues: "You'll stay—and if you stay, you will be successful." Foreign investors have no shortage of affection for this Mediterranean polestar.


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Source: Pharmaceutical Executive,
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