"Diatheva specializes in the field of diagnostic kits but, above all, we offer CDMO services regarding the GMP production of biopharmaceutical active ingredients."
Can you introduce Diatheva and its position within SOL Group?
Diatheva was founded in 2002 as a spin-off of the University of Urbino, in Italy, and in 2012 it was acquired by SOL group. Diatheva is part of the Biotechnology Division of SOL Group, a global leader in medical gasses that in the last ten years started differentiating its activities and investing also in the biotech field. SOL group 2020 revenue was about €1 billion. Diatheva specializes in the field of diagnostic kits but, above all, we offer CDMO services regarding the GMP production of biopharmaceutical active ingredients. By collaborating with both private and public entities, our mission is to bring research into application. We work in synergy with the other SOL biotech companies – CryoLab and Personal Genomics.
We are well positioned to provide support at all stages of the biopharmaceutical process development, from small scale to large production. In our state-of-the art GMP production facility authorized by EMA we produce and release biological APIs for preclinical and Phase I/II clinical trials. Our R&D department and university R&D labs together speak the same language and we leverage our development and industrialization resources to turn their ideas into a successful product.
Can you elaborate on how Diatheva leverages synergies with Personal Genomics and CryoLab?
Personal Genomics and Cryolab are service provider companies. Personal Genomics is specialized in sequencing and genetic services, CryoLab in bioshipping, cryorecovery and cryobanking. To give an example of an existing synergy, since the beginning of the pandemic, Personal Genomics was accredited by the Italian Ministry of Health for the COVID-19 PCR analysis by using Diatheva PCR kit. In addition, Personal Genomics is playing a key role in the sequencing of samples in order to identify the virus variants. Cryolab, on the other hand, offers cryobanking services of positive samples that require appropriate storage and it is also involved in the transportation and logistics of the COVID-19 vaccines. It is such synergies we seek to develop further from here on.
What are Diatheva’s current R&D projects?
One of our current most important R&D projects focuses on woman's health and consists in the development of a new diagnostic kit for endometriosis. This is a pathology that affects 10-15% of women of reproductive age and the percentage increases to 30-50% in case of women with difficulties in conception. Its diagnosis is a long and invasive process that usually takes years. In collaboration with the inventor Prof. Signorile, who is the President of the Italian Endometriosis Foundation, Diatheva is industrializing a kit based on innovative biomarkers that can be easily identified starting from a saliva sample.
We have our own research and development of three novel biologic therapeutics in the oncology and infectious diseases areas.
As an actor in biotech and supplier of bio-APIs, how are you seeing demand in this segment?
The pandemic certainly augmented demand for Covid-linked therapies, but we are seeing the return in demand for therapies that are Covid-exclusive. The segment’s recovery is also encouraged by new funds allocated to laboratories, universities and research institutes. Looking at the global picture, the biotech sector is estimated to reach USD 950 billion in revenues by 2027, according to Global Market Insights. The pandemic has unlocked the necessary investments that will fuel the industry’s growth. The pandemic has also revealed few gaps; we all became aware of the necessity to increase manufacturing capabilities during the rush for sourcing the COVID-19 vaccines, which should encourage more fervent fund allocations in the years to come.
What is your main internationalization strategy?
We collaborate with some Italian companies, but our focus is, above all, international. My responsibility is to build a global distribution network, by promoting the Diatheva brand. Our current geographical footprint is mostly in EMEA. The expansion strategy starts with understanding the challenge: our kits are very niche and specialized, so we need to screen the different distributors and market agents to identify the right partners for each technology. SOL group is globally present on different continents and they can facilitate logistics, transportation and administrative aspects which are subject to country dependent regulations.
Do you have a final message?
The pandemic has raised awareness of how important the Biotech sector is. Diatheva promotes biotechnological innovation by providing high-value customized diagnostic kits and solutions to laboratories that operate closest to the patient. Now, more than ever, the public opinion also knows about the importance of investing in innovative technologies. Diatheva can play an important role in the field of scientific innovation at an international level.