Q&A with Stephan Haitz, President, CDMO Sales & Marketing at Cambrex

Sponsored by Cambrex

March 9, 2020

Stephan Haitz, President, CDMO Sales & Marketing at Cambrex discusses current trends in small molecules within pharmaceutical development, and how the CDMO industry is constantly evolving to meet the demands and needs of the growing clinical pipeline.

Cambrex, the leading small molecule company, provides pharmaceutical products, expertise and technologies to accelerate the development of small molecule therapeutics into markets around the world. It currently employs over 2,000 people across 13 locations in North America and Europe.

Cambrex has a strong history in small molecule API manufacturing, supported by a global network of development and manufacturing facilities. Within the past 14 months, Cambrex has acquired and integrated Halo Pharma and Avista Pharma Services into its business, diversifying the company’s offering to include formulation development and finished dose clinical and commercial-scale manufacturing, as well as a broad suite of analytical development services. In December 2019, Cambrex announced its acquisition by an affiliate of the Permira funds, having been previously publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Permira funds’ investment will support the ongoing growth of Cambrex’s integrated services offering by enhancing the company’s ability to service its global customer base, and broadening its capabilities to provide additional world-class services to support the analysis, development and manufacturing of drug substances and products, from the preclinical phase through to commercial launch.

Q: Is the small molecule market growing?

A: Looking at current market data, it is clear that the number of small molecules within the clinical pipeline is growing, and there is a trend of smaller and virtual companies leading projects further through the development pipeline.  For example, 65% of the current clinical pipeline projects are now sponsored by small pharma companies (see Figure 1), whereas historically, the large multinational companies would have made up the majority. Cambrex offers a wide range of flexible services to support these companies, and provides expertise to accelerate their drugs to the market.

  Figure 1

Figure 1: Total small molecule clinical movers 2012-2018 (1).

Q: What has been the greatest influence that has impacted the industry and CDMO services?

A: With the increased number of smaller and more virtual companies developing products, the nature of the products in the pipeline has changed. This has had an impact on what services CDMOs need to offer, and has increased demand for a high level of expertise in niche areas such as low volume and highly potent drug manufacturing.  Each customer is different from the other and offering a broader range of services to reduce the burden of managing complex supply chains is beneficial to appeal to the needs of each, and create efficient seamless service for the customers’ needs. Cambrex has recognized this change and has invested consistently and effectively in new technologies, manufacturing capabilities and capacity, and undertaken acquisitions to broaden its service offering and appeal to a wider range of potential customers.

Q: What do you think the future of small molecule outsourcing looks like?

A: The pharmaceutical industry continues to evolve, but with a healthy clinical pipeline, coupled with a high number of FDA approvals for small molecules, the sector remains strong. However, the nature of these molecules is changing, and there is more outsourcing than ever before, which shows there is potential for further growth. During the last 40 years, the contract manufacturing industry has been evolving and working alongside the large pharmaceutical companies. Today, we are almost at a point where more than half of the small molecules in the clinical pipeline or on the market are manufactured by CDMOs rather than big pharma.

Q: How can a service provider remain competitive within the CDMO industry?

A: I think it is about looking at the pipeline, identifying the molecules that are coming down the pipeline, and evaluating the types of innovators that have those molecules. By doing that, a CDMO can assess whether it has the expertise, facilities, technologies and available assets to meet the needs of the next generation of drugs.Our objective is to ensure that we have recognized the changing needs of the industry and evaluated how to offer the most suitable solutions to our customers, creating partnerships to deliver projects efficiently and economically throughout their development and entire lifecycle.

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