Parallel deals to invest in Isofol Medical and manufacture the alternative chemotherapy agent Modufolin on its behalf are evidence of Recipharm’s ambitious growth strategy, the CDMO says.
Isofol Medical is a Gothenburg, Sweden-based company which is developing Modufolin, a folate-based biomodulator used in combination with high-toxicity chemotherapeutic drugs. Today the firm announced Recipharm has been awarded a contract to lyophilise and fill/finish the product for upcoming Phase III trials and an exclusive agreement for future commercial manufacture.
Alongside the deal, Recipharm has - through its investor subsidiary Recipharm Venture Fund - invested SEK 8m ($1.2m) into Isofol as part of a strategy that EVP of Development & Technology Carl-Johan Spak said gave Recipharm “a competitive advantage” over rivals in the CDMO space
“A combination of customer collaboration and an investment is a still a small part of our business but in some cases we believe it presents an interesting opportunity,” he told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “There are not so many companies operating in our space who actually have the financial resources to do this and we therefore believe it gives us a competitive advantage.”
This strategy is not new, Spak said, as Recipharm previously owned shares in French drug delivery firm Crossject, while simultaneously handling its aseptic filling. Furthermore it is not the main driver for Recipharm going forward.
“I am sure that the main growth will come from winning new contracts both in development and manufacturing business through offering our first class services. However, it is a useful complement.”
The investment comes a week after the firm announced it was buying the Milan, Italy-based manufacturer Corvette Pharmaceutical Services Group . Recipharm has been on a spending spree over the past few years and previously told this publication the decision to go public in June was driven by the desire to participate in the consolidation affecting the industry.
Spak confirmed Recipharm’s aim: “We have very ambitious growth targets and it is likely that both new acquisitions and investments will come.”
Until now clinical trial supplies have been supplied by a smaller CMO, Isofol’s Managing Director Anders Rabbe told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.
Modufolin is the key active metabolite of all clinically used folate-based drugs today - including Leucovorin and Levoleucovorin – which are used in order to reduce the damaging effect of chemotherapy agents on healthy cells.
“The idea is to give the active metabolite [Modufolin] directly to patients, as some patients cannot metabolise the current products available,” he said. Furthermore, “with certain treatments Modufolin will strengthen healthy cells while also increasing the potency of the chemotherapeutic agent.”
The API for Modufolin is made by Merck KGaA, and in June 2013 Isofol signed an exclusive license agreement with the German Pharma Giant for the use of the product in cancer treatment.