Francisco Kuri Breña
Director of New Developments
Landsteiner Scientific
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View from the Top

Five Years Till Mexico's First Genomic Drug

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 11:44

Q: Landsteiner is the only company that does genomic research in Mexico. How close are you to the development of the first genomic drug in the country?

A: Landsteiner is about five years away from creating the first genomic medicine to treat obesity. It is very complex research because we have to consider different markers including diet, activity, clinical history and other vascular risks in each person’s profile. For us, it was a solid step for WHO to consider obesity as a disease because more research opportunities have opened up as a result. We are developing Phases I and II in Europe and then will move on to Phase III with clinical trials in Mexico. We are also working on other treatments for diseases such as colon cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Q: In 2016, you changed your business model to emphasize sales to the private sector. How are your sales divided? What are you doing to diversify?

A: We reorganized several departments to comply with our new business model. Before that, 90 percent of our sales were with the public sector, so we relied on bids. This year, we are close to achieving our goal of having 30 percent of our sales in the private sector. Our plan is to strengthen our presence in the private sector and then jump into the export market. We have targeted regions where COFEPRIS is a recognized regulatory agency, such as South America, Central America and the Caribbean, to export over 18 products. We have seen high demand for biotechnological and other specialized products in the private sectors of those regions, especially in countries such as Guatemala, Colombia, Chile and Peru. Another strategy for diversifying our sales is exporting to Europe and the US. We are opening the production of a new medicine in Toluca that will meet the criteria stipulated by international regulators.

Q: One of your advanced research lines is related to obesity. What impact does this research have on your activities in Mexico?

A: Our research will have a great impact, not only in Mexico but throughout the world. The history of medicine has an herbal origin that later evolved to the analysis of microorganisms and biotechnology. Today, through genomic medicine we try to understand which enzyme, protein or modulator affects the cellular processes that cause diseases. The point is to stop a disease at its origin. Landsteiner is working on three lines: Alzheimer’s, colon cancer and post-stroke therapies to regenerate ischemic cells. Also, we have plans to investigate macular degeneration, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Parkinson’s, among others.

Q: In 2012, Landsteiner ranked in the Top 10 of the private sector generics market. What percentage of your sales do generics represent?

A: We are reaching our goal of 30 percent in generics sales to the private sector and the scenario looks more positive than before because we are winning favorable public tenders to sell our products. We have won over 90 percent of the tenders we have participated in, so the path for this year is looking good.

Q: One of your objectives is to register 15 medicines a year with COFEPRIS. Do you expect to achieve this goal in 2018?

A: We are focusing on the production of the most profitable products but we continue with the same list. Our goals changed due to the modifications imposed by COFEPRIS, so we had to adapt. We expect to increase our profit margin by focusing on the most profitable products we have. Of the 15 initial medicines that will be registered this year, we will be targeting our Top 3 and continue from there.

Q: As the only Mexican company doing genomic research, what challenges do you face and what alliances have you entered?

A: Landsteiner has been working in genomics research related to obesity for five years and we are in Phase I. We hope to move on to Phases II and III in another five years. We have the financial support for our research and part of the process will be done with outsourcing companies.