Express Pharma

‘We now see the opportunity to further develop our drug delivery business in India’

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Karen Flynn, Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, West Pharmaceutical Services, in an interaction with Sachin Jagdale, divulges the company’s growth prospects for the Indian market

Your Chennai plant was expected to generate profits by early 2016. What is the current status? What plans have been chalked out to expand production at the site to include elastomer components?

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Karen Flynn

We are pleased with the progress of our Chennai plant and it is developing in line with our overall strategic plan for the company, which also includes greater geographic expansion in the coming years. Currently, the facility is fully operational and manufacturing various offerings from our product portfolio of seals.

The site was built to spur expansion. and we do have space to grow. In addition to accommodating more seals business, there’s potential to produce other West product offerings in response to regional market demands.

What are the India-specific challenges for your company? What are the major gains for West Pharmaceutical Services since its inception in India?

Many of the challenges we see in India are similar to what our customers are experiencing across the globe. First, there is a need for high quality components to meet increased regulatory scrutiny. Also, speed to market is an important factor for our customers. To help customers bring their products to market faster, we established a comprehensive global supply chain network that includes the necessary infrastructure for the Asia Pacific region.

Since the inception of West Pharmaceutical Services in India, we have partnered with pharma and biotech companies who have injectable product portfolios that align with our packaging and delivery offerings. Today, injectable formulations are one of the fastest growing dosage forms in India due to investments in injectable dosage form manufacturing facilities and the progression of biosimilars to commercial products.

While we have traditionally focused on marketing injectable container solutions in India, we now see the opportunity to further develop our drug delivery business here. Several customers in India have expressed interest in West’s Daikyo Crystal Zenith–our technologically-advanced cyclic olefin polymer containment and delivery system that offers an alternative to glass. Additionally, a number of customers are utilising our line of reconstitution systems.

India is known for its prowess in generics but biologics and branded pharma are also among the major focus areas for your company. Looking at this scenario, do you think that the Indian market will earn you enough profits as your other markets do?

The generics market is an important area of strategic focus for West Pharmaceutical Services. We understand that customers are looking for a global network to provide shorter lead times and faster time to market with higher performance products to meet increasing regulatory concerns. As an organisation, we are optimising efficiencies to be able to deliver on these expectations. Additionally, as branded biologics are coming off patent and will be available as biosimilars, West Pharmaceutical Services can apply our experience with these therapeutic classes to recommend products for drugs with similar packaging needs. Based on the potential for the generics market and the projects already underway in India, we are optimistic about the growth opportunities in the country and the region.

West Pharmaceutical Services is doing a lot of work in delivery device category. What’s your say on this? When is the wearable injectable expected to be launched? Will it be made available in India as well?

Several customer-funded development programmes are underway based on the SmartDose electronic wearable injector platform, including an anticipated commercial launch with one strategic customer later in 2016. This groundbreaking drug delivery system is designed to improve patient experience and encourage medication adherence for therapeutic applications requiring high dose volumes. The SmartDose injector is available for customers to utilise in their clinical trials in India and in all areas in which West operates.

What are your current revenue figures globally?

In 2015, West Pharmaceutical Services generated net sales of $1.4 billion, which translated into 7.2 per cent sales growth excluding currency effects. Adjusted operating profit margin expanded to 13.6 per cent of net sales, and adjusted diluted earnings per share increased to $1.83, a record high and an increase of three per cent over 2014. Excluding an additional $0.29 per share in adverse currency effects, full-year 2015 adjusted diluted EPS would have grown by 19 per cent, a strong achievement in a year of significant transition.

West Pharmaceutical Services’ operations in India and Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ campaign started almost at the same time. How did you benefit from this campaign? What is your contribution in making this initiative successful?

In India, we see a double digit growth of injectable drugs. This, coupled with the ‘Make in India’ campaign, is helping us scale up our Sri City plant, which manufactures seals used for injectable packaging for the domestic market as well as for exports. We provide a very targeted line of products and services for injectable packaging and delivery solutions, which is integrated with our global operations and quality systems.

Any new products in the pipeline?

We have a number of projects in the R&D pipeline for our container closure systems as well as drug delivery. Currently, we are working on an extension of our NovaPure line of products. We are also focusing on wearable devices and developing the next generation of our SmartDose electronic wearable injector. In addition, we are working on a seal offering to address potential quality issues that can occur between lyophilisation and capping. We are piloting customer trials with this product now and will be scaling up in early 2017.

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