Brazil Report: A Bold Player Blooms - Pharmaceutical Executive


Brazil Report: A Bold Player Blooms

Pharmaceutical Executive


Giles Platford, formerly leader of the legacy Nycomed business in Brazil, and who, in October 2011, assumed the presidency of Takeda/Nycomed in Brazil, will preside over a mingling of cultures. The UK manager, with experience in China and Southeast Asia, heads a company which can now trace its roots back to Norway and Japan, and has strong prospects in Brazil. "Our Brazil operation became the second-largest affiliate worldwide for Nycomed in 2010, following a strong performance that positioned us as one of the fastest-growing multinationals in the Brazilian pharma market (IMS retail audit)," says Platford. He explains this success by highlighting the flagship product, Neosaldina, which ranks among the top 3 pharmaceutical products in the country. "Representing 25% of our total sales, and growing ahead of the branded analgesics market, certainly Neosaldina is an important driver for us. This is a brand that we have continued to reinvent year after year with creative marketing campaigns, and alternative strategies to work with the point of sale (POS)," Platford says. "In fact, last year our Neosaldina campaign in Brazil was recognized by Nicholas Hall (a specialized OTC marketing company) as the best OTC marketing campaign worldwide. This was the first time a Brazilian brand has won this prestigious award, and I believe it is a testament to the creativity of our OTC marketing team," he continues, which will do wonders to fill the state-of-the-art facilities in Jaguariúna, currently at 70% utilization on a three shift basis. With a modular design and 30 million units of capacity remaining, internal growth plans and potential contract manufacturing can both be accommodated, with cGMP certification and a track record of exports to the EU and various LATAM countries have attracted big names like J&J, P&G, and BMS.


Francisco Piccolo, managing director, Biogen Idec Brazil
With the passing of the legislative amendment RDC 55/10 governing biosimilars in December 2010, ANVISA and its stakeholders are pinning hopes on doing for the biologics market what the generics law of 1999 did for the generics market. When asked if he shares this optimism, Francisco Piccolo, managing director Biogen Idec Brazil, comments: "Biogen Idec has been very close to ANVISA and part of the discussions through Interfarma to provide our perspective on the biosimilar and biological regulations the government is now just about to be finalizing. In our view it's always good to have increased access to the best therapy possible for patients. Our perspective is always trying to focus on the benefit of the patient that is going to be benefitted by the regulation." Piccolo lauds the government for going in the right direction to increase access, and talks about the contribution his company can make: "The company has been very well-known and recognized as a company that innovates in the biotech segment, particularly in neurodegenerative diseases, more specifically in multiple sclerosis. Our vision of providing cutting-edge science to increase quality and length of life is always going to be the direction for the company. Research and development are important parts of our corporate DNA."

Piccolo points to the success of Tysabri's launch in May, which was made part of the reimbursed MS medicines by the government to treat relapsing remitting forms of the disease, and looks forward to 2012, which will see the introduction of Fampyra, which lends patients increased walking capacity, and Avonex Pen, which is the self-injected version of Avonex, being the first alternative of an IM self injection of an interferon. In 2013, Biogen Idec also plans to launch the BG-12 which is the innovative oral form to treat MS, and farther out, looks to finalize its first effective therapeutic option for a highly threatening neuro-degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). "Later, the company will also enter into the haemophilia market, providing innovative forms of recombinant and long-acting FVIII and FIX," Piccolo concludes.

But what of manufacturing? "Brazilians usually prefer products ready for commercialization," says Avi Meizler, an architect by training and president and founder of Meizler Biopharma. However, Meizler is not a usual man—he's decided to jump headlong into building a biotech manufacturing plant. "Meizler wants to be among one of the first companies in Brazil in the manufacture of biotechnology products, but even this wasn't enough—and we have decided to also enter into development, which is even rarer in Brazil, which traditionally has not had the mentality for this," Meizler says. On the back of these investments, he expects to, at minimum, quintuple the company's size in the medium-term. And in what can surely be prefaced with the disclaimer of "no pun intended," Meizler sums up his company's strategic thrust as such: "To borrow an expression from my architecture days, Meizler is now building a solid foundation for the future."


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