Efrén Ocampo
President
Grupo Neolpharma
/
View from the Top

Investment Responds to Patient, Market and Industry Needs

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:30

Q: Grupo Neolpharma recently inaugurated its distribution center and production plant for plastic vials in Vallejo. How does this reflect the company’s commitment to the sector?

A: Grupo Neolpharma’s high production rates, coupled with the new centralized purchasing schemes from INSABI that gathers supply from different states and institutions, meant we needed to have more efficient orders and deliveries.

Last year, we began the construction of a production plant for plastic vials from 1mL to 50mL. We realized the offering for this product was lacking despite its low production and packaging costs, not to mention the advantage derived from eliminating the dependency on glass. To date, glass vials are a barrier as the melting processes can endanger the condition of injectable solutions.

Grupo Neolpharma now has a plant for injectable oncological products, one for specialty analgesics and one large-volume plant for injectables focused on distribution to the US, plus our distribution center. We know that the US has a fragmented offer. However, we are familiar with its market from the experience we have with our plant in Puerto Rico.

Our injectables plant in División del Norte has the capacity to produce around 50 million vials per quarter, 16.6 million vials each month. This enables us to serve large orders when needed and be a strong competitor for vaccine production. Moreover, our level of distribution has increased with the distribution center, which allows us to take advantage of quick delivery opportunities.

Q: What is the status of Grupo Neolpharma’s initiative to introduce pain medications for conditions like terminal cancer?

A: These products will be manufactured at our specialties’ plant, where we produce analgesics for intense pain. Our plant for oncological injectables also responds to these needs and it will start operating by the end of 2020. Mexico has a large demand for oncological products and we are proud to contribute to reducing the negative impact of this disease. We already have oncological products of our own registered. However, we are developing more of these to address the needs of children and adults with cancer.

Q: How is Grupo Neolpharma responding to the changes brought by the new public purchasing scheme?

A: Every six years, the sector faces changes depending on the administration. These changes always try to improve the conditions of the healthcare system in Mexico and we have always tried to contribute as positively as we can. During the opening of our new distribution center, we offered to put it at INSABI’s disposal because we know it is still organizing its distribution mechanism through third parties. We believe we can tackle this distribution directly, which will be of great help to INSABI. Furthermore, we have many warehouses and a robotized facility in Toluca that can also contribute to making public processes and our own more efficient. Grupo Neolpharma is trying to support the public sector in its logistics process.

Q: Why is Grupo Neolpharma the right partner for UNAM and its COVID-19 development?

A: We have worked with UNAM research centers for years now. We have two patents that began at UNAM’s facilities. This institution, along with CINVESTAV, has been working on vaccine development for a while. From our side, as part of the objectives for our production plants, we wanted to introduce biotechnology and APIs from bacteria and cells. Putting this together, we created a link with these institutions to help them accelerate their development processes to manufacture vaccines.

Internally, we have a team working with them on the development of the vaccine. We are also working on the development of the correspondent APIs for production. The preclinical phase for this development is still running and after they finish, we will begin with clinical trials. Aside from our infrastructure and human capital contributions, we have invested funds in the project. However, we will soon look for other investors to intervene and support this development.

The country needs vertical integration in the pharmaceutical industry, including API manufacturing for the medicines the Mexico produces. COVID-19 demonstrated how dependency on APIs can stop many medicine developments. Mexico, as a large pharmaceutical manufacturer, has the chance to exploit API production and avoid future disruptions.

Q: What are Grupo Neolpharma’s near-term plans?

A: We want to grow internationally and to increase our API production for Mexico by collaborating with institutes that are developing petrochemicals, which are an important base for API production. Our API goals are aligned with USMCA’s concerns and goals for the region, meaning that our actions will benefit the country.

 

Grupo Neolpharma is a Mexican pharmaceutical group made up of various companies dedicated to the development, manufacture, distribution and commercialization of APIs and medicines. While the company has several research lines, it focuses on the production of high-quality generics.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst