The Dutch life sciences and food ingredients firm made the comments today during a third quarter results presentations in which it revealed that revenue from its pharma business grew 6% to €163m ($219m). The unit’s earnings increased by €8m to €12m.
Company CFO Rolf-Dieter Schwalb said: “In the pharma business we have been clear about what we want…we want to go for partnership” adding that it is too early to say whether it will be a 50:50 agreement like the joint venture DSM set up with Sinochem for its anti-infectives business a few years ago.
DSM has been seeking a partner for its pharmaceutical products business for a few years as a result of declining sales, in an effort that saw it set up the Sinochem collaborations and wind up its biosimilars joint venture (JV) with Crucell.
Judging by DSM’s comments today the firm is no closer to finding a parter for the pharma business.
“At the end of the day it is always about creating value for the company” Schwalb continued, adding that “if we were to say here is our pharma business for €1…we would have a partnership today, but that is not a very wise thing to do for the pharma business.”
He went on to say that it will take time to find the right partner, explaining that: “It could be anywhere in the world” adding that “we already have a strong position in the US and Europe and we need a partner that is willing and able to go into Asia.”
No pharma focus for omega-3
Schwalb also confirmed that DSM is not likely to start making pharma-grade omega-3, which is a market that has started to attract a lot of attention from ingredient suppliers after the US Court of appeals rules that patents held by Pronova for the heart pill Lovaza were invalid.
He said: “We are not in the pharma area for omega-3. We produce grades up to 60-70% but not in the 90% range [required for pharma applications] for which a completely different technology is needed, which is where Pronova is active.”
Schwalb also rejected that idea that its 2010 acquisition Martek Biosciences – which produces higher grade omega-3 using algae – could allow it to enter the pharma fish oil market and reiterated that the plan is to focus the unit’s activities on dietary supplements.