Roquette, an excipients and ingredients company based in France, has announced plans to open a new Innovation Center in Pennsylvania. The company already has established centers in Singapore and France, all aimed at advancing drug delivery and helping increase speed to market.
Outsourcing-Pharma recently connected with Paul Smaltz, head of pharma for Roquette Pharma Solutions, about the center, the factors leading to the decision to open it, and what the future direction of pharma ingredients and excipients might look like.
OSP: Could you please tell us a bit about the growth and changes Roquette has seen/experienced that helped lead to the creation of this innovation center?
PS: Roquette Pharma Solutions has seen significant progressive growth over several years. Today, the company is a market leader in excipients that make up patient-friendly dosage forms, like orally disintegrable tablets (ODT). Many of the advancements that Roquette will be focused on in this new laboratory will be in drug delivery technologies that increase patient compliance.
The move also represents a key milestone in Roquette’s ambition to become the ‘number one’ trusted formulation and technology partner for our customers. Our aim is to partner with them to provide solutions, rather than simply ‘supply’ excipients. The new Innovation Center is crucial to meeting these evolving needs and will enable us to work closely with customers on pipeline drugs, helping them to get to market more quickly.
OSP: What are some of the factors leading up to the decision to site the latest center in the US?
PS: The new Innovation Center is located in Spring House, Pennsylvania, about 17miles north of Philadelphia, in the eastern US, which will enable Roquette to better serve its customer base and promote collaboration with other market leaders situated in the vicinity.
The US is an important pharmaceutical hub, where 45% of drugs are developed, globally. Expanding our operations into the US market was the next step of Roquette’s strategic growth plan, helping us to further the advancement of prescription drugs. Customer-focused innovation is one of our key strengths, and the location of the new Innovation Center will allow for deeper customer collaboration in the early-stage development of the next generation of drugs.
We hope this expansion will consolidate Roquette’s leadership position in the market and reinforce our commitment to pharmaceutical customers of all sizes – across North America and beyond.
OSP: Could you please tell us about this innovation center, what you plan to tackle at the site, what it has in common with the other sites, and what’s unique?
PS: The center will house our Applied Sciences facility – focusing on the research of excipients for oral dosage forms, drug delivery systems, nutraceutical APIs, and future pharmaceutical ingredients. This will sit alongside a Customer Technical Support Laboratory, which will enable closer collaboration with our customers, helping them to formulate drugs in their new product pipelines.
There will also be an auditorium, where we will hold monthly symposiums and training for our customers, to ensure they stay up to date with the latest science and developments. The facility will also house Roquette Pharma Solutions’ headquarters, working directly with team members across the globe.
The US location will focus on innovation in oral dosage forms and APIs for nutraceuticals, which will complement the advanced research in biopharma applications that is being carried out in the Singapore facility, as well as the central R&D function in France. All three locations are ideally placed to better serve our customers globally, covering a wide variety of applications and supporting companies and formulators of all sizes.
OSP: You speak of the importance of collaboration to the industry’s continued success. Could you please tell us a bit about the types of collaboration you expect at the Philadelphia center, and how it will help progress drug development?
PS: New product development is a strong focus of the Roquette Pharmaceutical Solutions business – and it is expected to continue expanding. In 2020, 15% of our revenue was from products launched in the last five years, and in 2021, we anticipate sales of new products to reach up to 25%.
As Roquette looks to further the development of cutting-edge solutions, customer collaboration is increasingly critical. As a hub of advanced new drug research, Pennsylvania is the ideal location to enable us to collaborate more effectively with our customers and bring products to market successfully.
OSP: What impact might the center have (if any) on domestic sourcing of APIs and other components of finished drug products?
PS: A key purpose of the new facility is to support our customers with their research and development activities – helping them to tackle challenges in oral drug formulation. For this reason, we don’t expect the site to have significant impact on domestic sourcing of APIs and other components.
However, with our long-standing production history and vertically integrated supply chain model, we can offer leaner manufacturing, shorter lead times, and the ability to adapt quickly to any changes in the end product.
OSP: Anything to add?
PS: Roquette has strong growth ambitions for its pharma business and our aim is to accelerate the development of this market through the opening of the new US Innovation Center. The recent pandemic has reinforced healthcare as a major governmental priority across the world, and we are proud to play a role in the advancement of treatments that help improve, sustain and save lives.
We hope the global healthcare community continues to come together – as it has done in the fight against COVID-19 – to bring innovative new products and services to fruition. For Roquette, its Innovation Centers and research laboratories are integral to helping achieve these ambitions.