Pharma Focus Asia

Peptides Remain a Growth Story

Bachem\\\'s strategic refocus

Jose de Chastonay, Chief Marketing OfficerBachem GroupSwitzerland

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1. How has peptide business evolved at Bachem and what changed over the last 14 years?

Since 1971 we were among the very first to supply peptide chemists around the world with the necessary tools to make peptides and soon had the biggest selection of such amino acid derivatives available from stock.  We also began to synthesize many bioactive peptides in the 70s and 80s, which we sold to customers around the world. As peptides became drugs, we metamorphosed from a pure research chemical manufacturer into the best provider of active pharmaceutical peptides in the world.Over the last 14 years, the amount of peptide APIs increased dramatically, as did the standards for purity. There is also a high demand for longer and more complex structures. We still are at the forefront of the field.

2. In 2012 Bachem has taken the strategic decision to re-focus on the core business of peptides. Why was this decision made? How has it benefitted Bachem in the last two years?

Bachem’s re-focus on peptides is the result of an in-depth analysis of the market. We are convinced that peptides remain a growth story. In order to stay ahead in the field, Bachem must fully concentrate its resources on the core business. It’s a clear strategy to constantly build upon our pole position and grow in existing and new markets. We benefit from our re-focus by achieving strong growth in the New Chemical Entities (NCEs) business, where we are recognized as a reliable business partner with innovative drive, who can ensure the successful execution of peptide projects and deliver superior quality solutions.

3. What are your views on the market for peptides?

We expect that in Asia, especially in China, the pharmaceutical industry will grow rapidly and therefore we consider the region as an increasing market for peptide drugs. Bachem is getting ready  to enter these markets competitively, because there should be an increased need for peptide solutions there. It would be difficult to stay ahead of our competition if we did not capitalize on growth opportunities in emerging markets. Also the future will belong to those CMOs that can build successful partnerships with customers around the globe. The market is highly regulated, so product quality as well as compliance are essential attributes to success.

4. What are the key challenges in the market today that Bachem looking to solve by focusing on peptides?

The CMO business in the pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive and one of the key developmentsis that many APIs are now manufactured in Asia. By focusing on peptides we are well prepared to maintain our leading position. For years we have established best industry practice in the execution of peptide projects for our customers. Our facilities, equipment and approach to manage product development as well as scale up contribute to staying cost competitive. Distractions in adjacent fields would break the crucial focus.

5. The primary objective of Bachem vision is to be the undisputed leader in peptides. With this in mind, what do you think is on offer this year?

Bachem will continue to evolve the peptide field. One hot topic is the targeted synthesis of specifically glycosylated proteins and peptides. We developed an industrial scale process for Interferon beta-1a with our Japanese partner GlyTech Inc. last year. Such products have interesting properties and can now be made economically on an industrial scale.We hope to catalyze the finding of potential new drug compounds in the form of glycopeptides.

6. How important do you think is it to have a local journal giving the Asian perspective on developments in the pharmaceutical world, and at the same time, to keep readers informed about what is happening in other parts of the world and markets that they might be considering targeting?

The Asian pharmaceutical industry with its rapid growth already is an important part of the business. People and companies need to be well aware of what is going on in the industry on a global level. I am personally convinced, that a local Asian journal will contribute to an open-minded environment and facilitate cross cultural understanding. This may be a key for future innovation and development within our industry, because global partnerships and cooperations may become increasingly important to reach the ultimate goal of creating innovative drugs in the future.

-- Issue 21 --

Author Bio

Jose de Chastonay

Jose de Chastonay, Chief Marketing Officer Bachem Group Switzerland

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