SGS Life Sciences will roll out new biologics testing capabilities across its network in bid to be the world’s number one contract biopharmaceuticals testing laboratory by 2014.
Speaking at SGS’ Biotech Day in Wavre, Belgium last month spokesman Cedric Volanti told Outsourcing-pharma that: “The future of the industry lies with biologics” adding that “there is great opportunity for growth in serving this segment of the market.
Volanti predicted that SGS’ existing global presence would be attractive to biologics developers seeking to ensure drug products and ingredients made at manufacturing facilities around the world are of a consistent quality.
“[As] supply chains become more globalized, especially in light of emerging markets, suppliers’ ability to access global laboratory networks becomes an important consideration in achieving consistent SOPs, validation and results.”
To this end, he continued, SGS plans “to deploy new Biologics capabilities in throughout our network in the future,” adding to existing capacity at labs in Belgium, France, the US and Canada.
Biosimilars and margins
SGS also sees opportunities in biosimilars although, as Volanti explained, the specific type of analysis required by manufacturers of such drugs is likely to differ from the testing required for innovative products.
“The increase of biosimilars will not have as much of a need in method development. Consequently, we anticipate an increase for validation for biosimilar as more of these products make their way into the market.”
However, while Volanti is confident demand from non branded drugmakers will increase “the challenge will be to maintain profit because as we have seen with small molecules, generics manufacturers tend towards cost-consciousness.”
Asia opportunity and competition
Asia also features in SGS’s biologics plans despite the fact that, as Volanti explained, at present much of the required laboratory analysis work is undertaken by facilities in Europe and the US.
Nevertheless, he continued, “We anticipated the increasing demand in Asia, and had laid the foundation over six years ago by establishing our operations in India and China.
Volanti also acknowledged that, like the manufacturing sector, the region’s biologics testing market is becoming more competitive, citing companies like WuXi and Shang Pharma as those with expanding capabilities.