Adragos Pharma's Japanese site is 'sweet spot' among acquisitions

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

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German CDMO Adragos Pharma has its eye on expansion and is continually branching out into new markets.

The company currently has four sites in Livron, France, Leipzig, Germany, Athens, Greece and Kawagoe, Japan. Most recently, Adragos also acquired​ Fresenius Kabi’s Norwegian sterile pharmaceutical manufacturing site, alongside its partner Prange Group.

Crucial to its growth is an emphasis on customer centricity and optimizing new sites, Henny Zijlstra, chief commercial officer at Adragos, told Outsourcing Pharma at CPHI Barcelona 2023​.  

“For every site we take on – we optimize and we invest. When we acquired the sites, they were in a certain shape and form, and we made sure to enhance operations. For example, at our Livron and Leipzig locations, we are installing new manufacturing lines and strongly investing in the current systems.

Henny Zijlstra, chief commercial officer at Adragos Pharma.

“Our Athens site is our development arm and they have a rich history and brilliant track record. After customer feedback, we’ve also just expanded into HP API capabilities. So many clients are asking for it and not many CDMO’s are offering it – so it’s an exciting area to be involved in.”

Zijlstra also describes the Adragos’ Japanese site, which it acquired from pharma giant Sanofi in March, as a ‘sweet spot’ for the company.

Now the third largest pure-play CDMO in the Japanese market, the site has allowed Adragos to differentiate from its competitors and introduce new customers from Europe and North America to the burgeoning Japanese market, Zijlstra adds.

“Without having any of our own business, we are really a neutral player. The team also speaks fluent English which can often be an issue for Europe and US-based companies. We have an excellent team there with a big pharma mentality,” she says.

“For us, it feels like we're working with the European team, but in the Japanese market. It’s a huge growth opportunity.”

Having operations in many international markets also allows Adragos to offer its customers an appealing end-to-end solution.

“Having our finger in many international markets is a great benefit. The trend is to consolidate your CDMO network and having our developments in Greece means we are cost-competitive, on top of this – the Japanese market is something not many CDMOs are able to offer. So it makes us a real global player,” she says.

While a fast-growing company, when considering the wider CDMO market, Adragos remains a small player. However, as a former senior director at a major CDMO, Zijlstra explains that the size and culture of the company were key factors in her joining.

“Coming from one of the largest CDMOs, it was exciting to join a company which is small – but has such a strong growth where the customer is central,” she says.

“You hear all the buzzwords – speed, agility, customization – but we are able to deliver these at Adragos. For example, if you need to sign a CDA, it’s done in a couple of hours. Or if I need a quick answer from our CEO, he is accessible and can respond quickly.

“Compared to larger CDMOs, the decision making is fast. Speed is really speed and the customer is central within our organization. We can be flexible when it comes to business models and if it means that we need to spend extra, or if we have to invest more, if we have to spend the extra resources, we will do it.

While Adragos’ size allows it to move faster and adapt more readily, the challenge will be maintaining this customer centricity as it continues to expand operations.

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