Article >> EuroAsia Industry Magazine > Ernesto Petroselli Interview

May 08, 2015
Article >> Prospects Through Pharmaceutical Partnership > EuroAsia Industry Magazine, Issue 4/2015 > Interview by Ernesto Petroselli, Presdident, CordenPharma International.

Prospects Through Pharmaceutical Partnership

CordenPharma is a leading global-scale Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO). Partnering with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies, they provides full-service solutions and supplies expertise for the development and manufacture of pharmaceutical products, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and associated supply chain and packaging services. Following on from Euroasia Industry’s previous article in 2013, Leonard Owen speaks with Company President, Mr. Ernesto Petroselli, who updates us on the company’s latest major investments and developments.

Since its establishment in 2006, CordenPharma has striven to deliver and showcase its cutting-edge expertise as a full-service CDMO partner. As the pharmaceutical branch of International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG), the company builds upon the existing capabilities and competencies of its customers, to deliver flexible, efficient and cost-effective solutions to meet their complete contract manufacturing needs.
Operating a global network of cGMP and Big Pharma calibre facilities, CordenPharma’s initial focus was centred on France, through the acquisition of Solvay Pharmaceuticals’ Chenôve facility – a location that provided the perfect springboard for CordenPharma to fully deploy its expertise in pharmaceutical chemistry, technology, project management and registration. Rapidly extending its geographical scope, the company’s acquisitions grew to incorporate the Plankstadt and Caponago-based facilities of AstraZeneca in Germany and Italy respectively. Such acquisitions significantly enhanced the company’s capabilities in the formulation of highly potent products, APIs, solid dosage forms, packaging and the cGMP manufacture of sterile liquid dosages for injectable use. In 2010, CordenPharma’s presence in Italy was bolstered by the acquisition of a plant in Latina, which enhanced the company’s provisions for the manufacture of liquid dosages for cephalosporins, penicillins and cytotoxics.
In 2011 CordenPharma realised further growth when it acquired the Liestal-based facility of Genzyme Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland – specialising in synthetic peptide, lipid and carbohydrate technologies. It was also in that year that CordenPharma extended its reach into the US, which was achieved thanks to the acquisition of the former facility of global healthcare company Roche. For the first time, the use of this facility – located in Boulder, Colorado – allowed CordenPharma to demonstrate its capabilities for the development and manufacture of chemically synthesised peptides and highly potent APIs to a truly world-class capacity. A year later, CordenPharma added a third Italian site in Bergamo – which catered to the manufacture of advanced pharmaceutical intermediates and APIs. In 2013, the company’s offering on the peptide platform was significantly enhanced through the acquisition of Peptisyntha’s Brussels facility.
“Today, we have a very broad and unique offering in place with regards to our technical platforms and our capabilities within Europe and the US – from non-GMP development, to GMP drug contract manufacturing, and low- to medium- and high-scale production,” Mr Petroselli tells us. “Furthermore, we recently hired a new sales force, complete with new leadership. Such strategies have seen us improve in three significant areas – in operational performance, in our ability to study and target worldwide markets and in the branding of our company. Through these means, not only have we enhanced our presence within the CDMO market, but we have become further recognised within our sector as a result.”

Additions & Acquisitions
Last year marked one of the strongest years in CordenPharma’s recent history. Attracting new customers and new contracts – primarily in the fields of oncology, antibiotics and peptides – much of these customers derived from chemical and molecular producers. “These contracts include a number of Big Pharma’s top 10 European and US drug producers,” Mr Petroselli reveals. “Other customers whom we are associated with today comprise R&D and marketing companies who outsource their supply chains. These represent a special target for us and are a prime example of a customer that typically comes to us with a proposal for a finished product, which we then deliver up to the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) stage.”
Further to its recent Peptisyntha facility acquisition, another addition to CordenPharma’s operations comes in the form of a non-GMP carbohydrate laboratory in Boston, US. “In my opinion, this laboratory completes our company’s provisions within the field of peptides, lipids and carbohydrates. Thanks to this asset, we believe that we can play an increasingly important role within those product categories, owing to the large commercial capacity that this facility provides,” the President reveals.
Whilst CordenPharma’s operations continue to be centralised in Europe and US, the company has become increasingly global in its scale. In addition to its existing sales force, it is currently in the process of deploying its sales personnel to Japan – a strategy that will herald CordenPharma’s presence within East Asia. “We are currently closing a number of deals with various globalised agents,” Mr Petroselli describes. “Whilst we have closed deals with agents in India, we are also working on deals in Russia, the Middle East and in Latin America, and we have practically finalised a deal in India. I anticipate that it will take most of the coming year to see such strategies realised.”
The Pillars of Growth
The main share of CordenPharma’s recent facility investments comprise the expansion of its highly potent capacities in CordenPharmaPlankstadt and its sterile aseptic lines in CordenPharmaCaponago. Further investments incorporate the addition of new technologies and an expansion at the company’s CordenPharma Latina facility that will serve to enhance its capabilities in the development of oncological and antibiotic drug formulations. “Our strategy is to offer a full range of technologies required for the production of high-potent tablets,” Mr Petroselli reveals. “Compaction is one such technology, and onco lyophilisation and chromatography are other examples.
“Due to our business model, and the scope of our acquisitions and the fact that a significant share of our sites are operated by Big Pharma manufacturers, our facilities have strong quality control procedures in place,” the President adds. “Our main effort in this respect has been to harmonise the processes across each of our facilities, thus enabling further efficiencies.”
Led by many pharmaceutical multinationals’ increased preference to outsource their drug production, the global CDMO market is set to achieve revenues of US$18.48 billion by 2017, and it is thanks to European and US CDMOs that the sector is on course for exponential growth. “In terms of premium products, sterile products and the technologies required for their production, the CDMO market is one that continues to grow and expand,” Mr Petroselli affirms. “Whereas the commodity sector is indeed diminishing, our industry is one that continues to be strengthened by its two central pillars of service and quality.”
In 2013, Mr Petroselli also spoke of an on-going rejuvenation of the antibiotics sector through the introduction of new antibiotic products and medical classification variants. “Today, there are a number projects taking place in the treatment of nosocomial infections, and there are several upcoming products that will address those. We will be there when such products arrive,” the President tells us.
Managing Marginality
Alongside its strategies, CordenPharma is aware of the challenges that it will inevitably encounter in its pursuit for growth. As intense competition within the CDMO sector continues to cause many organisations to focus on niche specialities, the margin for profit remains a primary area of contention, as many strive to achieve higher profitability. “Within our sector, everyone is trying to squeeze the other, which makes the issue of marginality hard to ignore,” Mr Petroselli tells us. “This is a challenge not only for us, but for the market as a whole. However, we believe that if we are able to successfully gain an advanced understanding of our markets and if we can be strategic in our planning and investments, we will be sure to realise further success. The market is large and it is growing, and we have a number of strategies in place that are sure to best position us for success.”
An Extended Reach
Committed to the continual provision of cutting-edge CDMO platforms, CordenPharma’s on-going target is to continue upon its strategy for further facility acquisitions. In so doing, the company will realise an effective means of complementing and extending the reach of its network and platforms. “With regards to our acquisitions, we have a number of opportunities in mind, alongside further programmes that we will be evaluating and engaging with internally. As it stands, our priority is to build upon our presence in Europe and the US. Of course, further opportunities will arise, yet the growth of our operations within those geographical domains will remain our primary target,” the President concludes.

Click here to read the full CordenPharma article.

Click here for the full online issue 4/2015 of EuroAsia Industry Magazine - Pages 162-167.