We expect more first-in-class and biosimilar drugs to be approved and produced in China

04 October 2021 | Monday | Influencers

Cytiva’s continuing capacity investments estimated at $500 million through 2022. With this announcement, Cytiva is enhancing the global supply chain so customers in Asia-Pacific region should feel the benefit. Francis Van Parys, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, Cytiva, South Korea reveals more during a conversation with BioPharma APAC
Francis Van Parys, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, Cytiva

Francis Van Parys, Vice President, Asia-Pacific, Cytiva

Francis Van Parys is currently responsible for providing transformational technologies in biopharmaceutical research, manufacturing and diagnostics to Cytiva customers and partners in the life sciences industry in China, India, Japan, Korea, ASEAN and Australia-New Zealand.


What strategic changes have you brought about within the business due to COVID-19 in China?

Covid-19 has led to several changes in our industry. One of which is the way it has forced companies to rethink supply chains and the importance of being able to source regionally, while meeting the increased demand from researchers who are looking for support with vaccines, single-use consumables, lateral flow, and molecular assays. 

The confluence of events has pushed the industry to require expanded manufacturing support, particularly for therapeutics that are being re-purposed for Covid-19. Cytiva has invested in manufacturing capacity expansion, and the urgent demand and needs accelerate our pace. Part of our investment included the building of regional and local capabilities. Therefore, we installed three new manufacturing lines in our partner Wego’s production sites in China to expand production. We have also hired more personnel and moved parts of manufacturing operations to 24/7 model in Singapore and New Zealand for key products to meet demands in the region and globally. 

As we continue to strive towards meeting the demands of our customers, we will work closely with them in forecasting their needs and to identify alternative materials, dual sourcing opportunities, and processes design gaps which can be streamlined. 


What are the major plans/launches/investments in store for 2022? 

We are planning to install eight new manufacturing lines in China, at Wego’s facilities. These production lines are expected to be in full operations by the third quarter of 2022. The expansion is expected to increase efficiencies, reduce lead time, and help sustain the supply chain for our customers in China, India, Japan, Korea and Singapore.  


Are you exploring new markets/regions as a part of your growth plan?

Our recent announcement with Pall Corporation on the expansion of our manufacturing capacity and services for our customers globally is already underway. It includes a new site in Cardiff, Wales and in the US, with the latter intended to replicate and complement Cytiva’s leading resin manufacturing capabilities at its site in Uppsala, Sweden. We have also been expanding various existing factories across the world, such as the one at Wego.


What new/unique trends do you foresee within the life sciences space in the coming years?

 First and foremost, it is important to examine the lay of the land. Our recent study, “Global Biopharma Resilience Index” compiled in partnership with Longitude – a Financial Times company, highlighted how the industry does not have enough collaboration to foster a robust R&D ecosystem.

With that in mind, we foresee partnerships and collaborations to increase significantly, reflecting the attraction towards benefits of increased speed and efficiencies that was experienced during the pandemic. We would expect regulators to be supportive of this trend and provide a nurturing environment for the industry as it matures and enhances its agility.

Another learning from our study, is the significant demand for supply security and domestic production. Coupled with a highly competitive and shallow talent pool, industry players have been forced to tap on automation to meet the demands of their host countries. Our findings show that companies which have done so, experienced benefits such as an 85% reduction in batch review time, 90% reduction in data input errors, 40% increase in workforce retention and 20% increase in employee efficiency. These benefits are significant and convincing enough for companies to invest in the adoption of new technologies and further automation. As such, we project that with the industry will accelerate its adoption of technology and automation in the near term.


How is the Life Science & BioPharma Manufacturing market evolving in China post-pandemic?

China’s biotech-driven treatments account for only 12% of the country’s total drug market. In consideration of the country’s rapidly ageing population and the growing willingness to spend on quality healthcare products and services driven by economic development, there is an unmet consumer demand that has yet to be fulfilled.

In addition, China’s sizeable domestic talent pool and local expertise in Artificial Intelligence to lend a competitive edge for the industry, we expect the industry not only have significant headroom for growth, but also a high growth-rate. This makes China to remain as one of our key markets.

In the near term, we expect more first-in-class and biosimilar drugs to be approved and produced in China. This would, in our opinion, require local biopharmaceutical manufacturers seek for better quality control, efficiency, and lead time. We hope to partner with local manufacturers through our expertise and our recently expanded manufacturing capacity, to accelerate their time to market process.


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