"We continue to keep our eye out for new acquisitions to complement our strong organic growth plans and track record."
How was 2021 for Piramal Pharma Solutions, and what has demand looked like for the company’s services recently?
2021 was a great year for Piramal Group, including Piramal Pharma Solutions. We grew our organization by several hundred employees across our global organization to help meet the strong demand for our products and services. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continue to increase our capacity and capabilities, particularly in the areas of drug substance, including high potency APIs, peptides, gene therapy, vaccine development, and monoclonal antibodies.
Generally, our development-oriented API services have been in very strong demand, particularly our high-potency API capabilities in North America, as well as our Antibody-drug Conjugates (ADCs). We have expanded our capacities to support the influx in demand for both APIs and ADCs. Additionally, we are expanding our sterile fill-finish and peptides offerings. On the drug product side, we have seen a lot of focus on integrated projects that touch more than one site. Customers come to Piramal Pharma Solutions for this given the simplicity and speed of our services.
Can you provide an overview of Piramal’s current capabilities in the US?
Our Riverview, Michigan API facility provides development and commercial manufacturing support, including a differentiation on high potency. We are in the process of a significant expansion here that should be completed by early 2023. Our Lexington, Kentucky facility is for sterile fill and finish. Between the two, we may see a compound made in Riverview that gets finished in Lexington, or we may even see a peptide made in India finished in Kentucky. This is a great integrated offering. We also recently added a facility in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, to further integrate our offerings and be able to offer drug product as well. We continue to keep our eye out for new acquisitions to complement our strong organic growth plans and track record.
What does your company’s investment into its ADC services indicate about broader demand trends in the space?
The US has the largest pharma market, so when you look at any product category in an innovative area, the US is typically a proxy for what is happening on a global scale. We see a lot of commercial success in ADCs, for example. Piramal Pharma Solutions has had an ADC business segment for a while, but we recently decided to move forward with a significant brownfield expansion to these capabilities. ADCs are mostly used in oncology, but they have applications ranging from anti-infective to inflammatory, with a series of therapy areas currently under investigation. Generally, when one category of therapy succeeds, people look for related therapy areas.
Have you noticed an uptick in demand for domestic production of pharmaceuticals?
The key stakeholders in each country we operate in are pushing for increased local production. The challenge now is how this will be funded. Every major government has put tremendous stimulus into their economies during Covid, and now they must grapple between the desire to have domestic production and figuring out where to spend limited resources. As a global company, we see this play out in different arenas. For companies serving US patients, there is strong demand for early-stage development and commercial production for specific therapy areas. Drugs targeting smaller patient populations, which are often linked to higher prices, are often sourced from North America for the US market. Drugs that are created for larger patient populations, however, typically gravitate towards our Indian sites. Our Indian sites also attracted new business from customers looking for alternative sourcing destinations apart from China. Piramal Pharma Solutions is expanding in all of its geographies to help support the desire to produce locally. That said, the pharmaceutical supply chain is immensely complex and remains inherently global. We overcome supply chain disruptions that threaten this network by multi-sourcing and de-risking our options. We build resilience into our supply chains to ensure we are able to provide on our promises.
What lies ahead for Piramal in 2022 and beyond?
Piramal Pharma Solutions will continue to focus on safety, sustainability and quality for patients, customers and employees. We believe that as a result, shareholders will always profit. In particular, we are focusing on a strong execution in delivering on our promises to our customers. We are also demerging from our parent company, Piramal Enterprises in order to have a separate publicly traded pharma company so investors can be fully aligned to our pharma focus.