Inorganic acquisitions of outside companies often catch more attention but Catalent is now spending “more of our money on our own current network – not just on the manufacturing sites but on the development side,” Jeremie Trochu, Strategic Marketing Director, Development and Clinical Services, told us Wednesday at InformEx in New Orleans.
Whether it’s investments in the company’s biomanufacturing facility in Madison, WI – which includes mammalian cell culture development and cGMP manufacturing – or continued developments at sites in Kansas City and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Catalent is looking at new ways to improve its current infrastructure and offerings.
More specifically, Catalent is expanding its capabilities around the clinical handling of biologics in Kansas City, which Trochu said is increasingly important as trials pick up around oncology drugs. The company also expanded its cold chain capacity across its network as there’s a growing need around the handling of potent compounds. “We needed more freezers and fridges” to meet demand, he said.
“The other investment is continuing to make sure we have the continuum of early development through scale up to commercial launch as we’ve had a couple of commercial launches through Kansas City in the orphan disease space,” Trochu said.
In addition, in Research Triangle Park, the company has made “significant investments in innovation” around inhaled dosage forms, while in Germany Catalent invested in its softgel business to provide coating capabilities.
As far as where the company is headed for the future, Trochu told us that more investments are coming in Asia as the market is demanding it. Most recently, Catalent partnered with Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company in Asia to develop new cell lines.
Capacity expansions need to be anticipatory, Trochu said, noting that if companies “wait for a request from clients, there can be challenges.”
Trouchu noted that the recent growth in Catalent’s softgel division can be attributed to a number of factors, including a large shift from prescription to OTC (over the counter) products outside the US and “softgel helps with that versatility.”
About 90% of NCE (new chemical entity) softgel approvals by the US FDA over the last 25 years have been developed and supplied by Catalent.
“The other piece driving the opportunity for softgel on the pharma side is that more compounds are having bioavailability and solubility challenges and softgel is a great enabler,” he added. “The easy molecules are done – we need platforms like softgel to help on these more difficult fronts.”
“It’s business as usual from a strategy and execution stand point” since the IPO, Trochu added.
The only change that has occurred since the IPO is using the money that was raised to reduce the debt, and more brand recognition, he added.