The titans of the pharmaceutical industry were all under the same roof recently at the 2018 CPhI North America Trade Show in Philadelphia. Over 7,400 people attended the annual event that featured everything from quality conferences and free seminars to awards and pharma community charity events. Two of people from our team attended this year’s show – Executive Recruiter Michelle Baxley and Managing Director Weslee Washington. Here’s a recap from this year’s exhibition.

Outsourcing from Asia Back to the U.S.

The trend of drug companies shifting their outsourcing from Asia back to the U.S. and Europe continues to gain momentum as more contractors focus on bolstering production of starting materials and intermediates that had been purchased from low-cost suppliers in China and elsewhere in recent years. Drug-chemical companies have responded by moving more resources into downstream services, including final-dose manufacturing. Suppliers are centering their attention on emerging cancer therapies and other high-tech drugs that will require special chemistry expertise.

One-Site Shopping Growing in Popularity

Attendees were promoting the virtue of one-site versus one-stop shopping. Many advocated against the one-stop method because dispersing intermediate chemical, active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), and final-dose manufacturing among a network of facilities undercuts not only customer convenience, but also manufacturing quality.

Manufacturers Report Long Runs of Profitability

Some contract manufacturers, like PCI Synthesis, have enjoyed double-digit growth for the past several years. The company is focused on developing the chemistry skills needed to manufacture today’s high-tech cancer therapies and personalized medicines. PCI’s CEO expects the growth to persist with plenty of business opportunities in the Boston area in the foreseeable future.

Major Investments & Consolidations

There were a variety of firms at the show that reported investing to accommodate growth and cover a broader stretch of the supply chain. Northern Ireland based Almac spent $24 million to recommission a facility to bolster its solid oral-dose drug-making capacity. It also made a significant investment to a plant to complete the link from early- to late-stage manufacturing. Sterling Pharma Solutions plans to invest upwards of $16 million to add support services to its API operations in Cramlington, England. The project includes micronization, milling, and solid-state chemistry and expands pilot- and kilogram-scale manufacturing. Hovione spent about $100 million in 2017 to open a development services center. The company hired 200 people over the past three years bringing its total staff up to 1,600.

Next year’s event is scheduled to take place from April 30-May 2, 2019 in Chicago, IL.


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