How can pharma and biotech benefit from strategic alliances?

August 11, 2023
A strategic alliance is an agreement between two businesses that have opted to pool their resources (such as manufacturing capabilities, knowledge, technologies, or risks) in order to work on a particular project that will benefit both parties and provide value. In the pharmaceutical industry, strategic alliances are e.g. built between a young biotech with an innovative discovery platform and a cash-rich pharma company looking to expand its portfolio of clinical candidate compounds. Another example would be a biotech or pharma company and CDMO to create value beyond just mere supplying API material.
At Bachem we decided to implement strategic alliance function to engage, broaden and explore different levels of collaboration with large pharmaceutical customers beyond a mere sales-transaction-driven relationship.
Boris Corpataux

Vice President Strategic Alliances, Bachem AG

Reasons for deeper cooperations in the pharmaceutical industry

The trend for pharma companies is to outsource parts of their manufacturing to CDMOs and instead invest in drug discovery, development, and commercialization is still strong for several reasons:

  • The demand for new clinical and commercial material may soon exceed the worldwide production capacities, especially for growing modalities in the world of medicine, such as peptides and oligonucleotides.
  • Bigger pharma companies value that external partners can operate fast and flexibly and smaller biotech companies the knowledge, expertise an experienced CDMO has.
  • It enables them to focus on their core competencies such as the scientific research and marketing of the drug.
  • Across the industry, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for the outsourcing of manufacturing. It highlighted the importance of a robust value chain with the disruptions in supply chains around the world.
  • Shorten the time to market and help gain a strategic advantage in improving the return on capital employed. A CDMO has unique capabilities in manufacturing, for example, peptides and oligonucleotides efficiently at a large-scale.
  • Pharma companies have sustainability objectives and thus a shared interest when collaborating with innovative CDMOs that focus on green chemistry.

Historically, outsourcing was viewed largely as a cost-cutting tactic. Partnerships have evolved into strong, strategic pillars in recent decades, with tight relationships, shared culture, and strategic fit becoming as crucial as technical capabilities.

Creating value in close partnerships with a CDMO

When a pharmaceutical or biotech firm decides to form a collaboration with a CDMO, several key factors must be considered, including cultural fit, quality standards, experience, and reputation. Other essential elements in the selection process, however, are critical to select a partner that will help the business to grow and evolve.

Accelerate innovation

The essential question of ‘what’s next’ is best answered in close collaboration with partners upstream and downstream in the value chain. Continuous innovation driven by qualified scientists, proven methods, and access to the newest technology and operational efficiencies are required for the development of unique, consumer-friendly formulations and products.
Partnering with CDMOs enables healthcare organizations to focus on their core capabilities while minimizing lead time and making the most of their resources at every stage of the process.

Supply chain security through agility

The supply chain’s agility and flexibility enable healthcare organizations to respond swiftly to developments in the dynamic healthcare market and the complicated regulatory framework that surrounds the pharmaceutical industry. From the initial formulation idea and development to manufacturing, packaging, and distribution, operational flexibility, scalability, bespoke services, and rapid prototyping are key requirements.

Insights along the whole value chain

Successful collaborations are built on in-depth knowledge of the market, consumer preferences, industry demands, and technologies. Close communication and mutual trust enable the partners to work as one team with common processes and a shared vision. Together using their individual expertise – development and commercialization of the finished product and the API process development and production – with the goal of meeting the demands of the consumers.

Access to Capabilities and unique technology

CDMOs with a strong industry network and the ability to invest in cutting-edge, customized technology offer an advantage in the product development process. These process efficiencies result in reduced time to market and costs.

Continuous Chromatography

Multicolumn Countercurrent Solvent Gradient Purification (MCSGP) has shown to achieve substantially higher capacity and yield than single-column batch processes. This innovative purification process leads to time savings, economic advantages and a lower environmental footprint.  

High standards of quality and compliance

Quality and honesty are essential in any collaboration, especially in the healthcare industry, which must preserve consumers’ health and well-being. To achieve regulatory compliance and good quality at the lowest feasible cost, the CDMO must follow customer quality requirements and undertake failsafe audits and inspections from both customers and regulatory agencies.

Production that is both sustainable and responsible

Sustainability and profitability go hand in hand, and consumers increasingly favor firms that take responsibility. Collaboration with CDMOs with a sustainable perspective is critical for innovative, responsible, and circular solutions, as it ensures licenses and gives a competitive edge while minimizing the impact on climate and the environment.

Creating valuable Intellectual Property (IP)

IP rights are more crucial than ever in today’s globalized and competitive economy. Customers are guaranteed a unique, high-quality, and proven product with a robust patent filing and IP rights setup. A professional IP setup at the CDMO also reduces the possibility of infringing on competitors’ intellectual property rights.

Strategic Alliance at Bachem

We established the Strategic Alliance function to engage with large pharmaceutical customers beyond a mere sales-transaction-driven relationship and to expand it to a broader collaboration that brings long-term benefits to both the pharma customer and Bachem. It is not only about our abilities to manufacture peptide and oligonucleotide-based active ingredients but also our chemistry and engineering know-how and innovation of the manufacturing process.

We want to create long-term valuable collaborative partnerships beyond old habits and ideas by fostering trust, collaboration, and integration with our partners but also with diverse internal functions from Operations, Sales, Engineering and frequently Bachem’s Senior Leadership and CEC.
Boris Corpataux

Vice President Strategic Alliances, Bachem AG

With well-timed investments in commercial-scale manufacturing capacity, production sites such as Bubendorf and Vista can offer large-scale manufacturing capabilities to customers. Innovation and technologies such as continuous chromatography and Molecular Hiving™ synthesis, help us gain early-adopter advantages and make these sustainable innovations available to biotech and pharma companies.

The purchase of land close to the pharma hub Basel, announced in October, lends another opportunity to forge strategic alliances. The development field for peptides and oligos manufacturing may include new models wherein a customer and Bachem co-invest in the construction of the building and installation of equipment.

The Right Solution for Your Needs

Understanding the challenges and demands of the pharmaceutical and biotech industries is why we are committed to providing high-quality products and services tailored to your specific needs. Please reach out to us today to find the right solution for your project.

About Bachem

Bachem is a leading, innovation-driven company specializing in the development and manufacture of peptides and oligonucleotides. With over 50 years of experience and expertise Bachem provides products for research, clinical development and commercial application to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide and offers a comprehensive range of services. Bachem operates internationally with headquarters in Switzerland and locations in Europe, the US and Asia. The company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

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