UK Report: Keep Calm and Carry On ... Differently - Pharmaceutical Executive


UK Report: Keep Calm and Carry On ... Differently

Pharmaceutical Executive

John Dawson, Founder and CEO, Alliance Pharma
In order to achieve such a position, the company has undergone a restructuring that included the up-skilling of its personnel, which was made possible due to the availability of pharmaceutical experts that had recently been laid off by other companies. Detailing Martindale's strategy, de Souza sees "new product development as a key aspect to ensure the continued growth of the company well into the future, but to maintain current growth we have had to develop a very active business development culture. We have been able to better gauge demand by establishing preferred partnership status with major retail pharmacy estates so that when a patient walks into one of those pharmacies with a prescription for a special, then that order will directly come to us. Innovation and customer-centric service improvements help underpin our status as the partner of choice for many pharmacies." This service-oriented approach includes delivering orders within 24 hours of them being placed and launching a new online platform from which a pharmacist can directly make orders. With steady growth and success in the UK the company is now looking to leverage its business model beyond its borders. "As a company, we already know how to solve some of the problems in the UK, so we are looking to transfer that knowledge to other European markets with similar needs and conditions. In 2010 Martindale only had 4% of its turnover coming from international markets. Within 12 months we have taken that up to 10%, and my goal is to reach over 20% within three years."

Richard de Souza, CEO, Martindale Pharma
In similar fashion, Alliance Pharma was created in 1996 when its founder perceived the outsourcing trend that was taking hold of the global pharmaceutical industry. Founder and chief executive officer John Dawson took advantage of the opportunity to create a company that specializes in marketing and distributing niche products. Dawson describes, "Having seen the splintering of R&D, with small biotech boutiques being set up as spinoffs of bigger pharmaceutical corporations ... I realized these companies would need partners to do their marketing and distribution in the future. Our perception as a growing specialty pharmaceutical company is to exploit opportunities that do not come from our own research and development, which can relate to both mature as well as innovative products that need launching. We have seen an increasing demand for our products even in the areas that we do not promote. Many of our products are so well established that it does not even make economic sense to promote all of them. For example, we have seen growth in non-promoted products purely for demographic reasons such as a growing or aging population." Despite Alliance's impressive performance over the past few years, such as growth of 44% in 2009, Dawson cautions that "it is crucial, however, to keep your two feet on the ground."

Scott Maguire, CEO, Xenetic Biosciences
Swiss biologics specialist Lonza is also taking advantage of the current situation of the pharmaceutical industry by positioning itself as an indispensable partner in product development and manufacturing. In 1996 the company acquired Celltech Biologics based in Slough, UK, which today has become Lonza's global center of excellence for mammalian cell cultures and is currently undergoing a 16 million ($25.3 million) renovation and expansion. "The investment will create a flexible operational infrastructure utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and technologies. The scope includes new purification and fermentation suites, new process development laboratories, a new GMP warehouse, and new office facilities," explains Gordon Bates, head of operations of Lonza UK. He adds, "Within the context of a growing biologics sector, where many large pharmas have publicly stated that they expect 20% to 50% of new molecules to be biologics over the coming years, Lonza's UK operations, which are solely focused around mammalian cell culture, are well positioned to support this projected growth. The UK also retains a strong position in scientific education and academic research that continues to create a great resource base and talent pool. Geographically speaking, Lonza Slough is also well positioned to support a global customer base given we are only 20 minutes away from Heathrow Airport. Overall, I think this is a very exciting time for the biotech sector in the UK at the moment."

Gordon Bates, Head of Operations & Site Manager, Lonza UK
The enthusiasm for UK biotech is reflected in the collaborations that pharmaceutical companies are forging with small startups and academic groups. Particularly now that the industry is struggling to maintain its R&D productivity, new models of research have been emerging out of scientific centers of excellence such as the UK. "While we believe that close partnerships with academic institutions globally are important, the availability of a wide range of collaboration models and flexibility over intellectual property rights are factors that continue to make the UK academic sector an integral part of our innovation efforts," says Bates. Deepak Khanna, MSD's managing director, adds, "The UK will continue to have academic partnerships because of the high-quality scientists and the high-quality work force skills that exist here, but I think we are going to see more of these collaborations and partnerships earlier on. This is part of the changing R&D model versus the traditional bricks-and-mortar R&D facilities."


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