Rafael Quintanilla
Director of Pharma & Biologics
Laboratorios Silanes
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Laboratorios Silanes: Antivenom Products an Example of Innovation

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 08/13/2020 - 09:00

Q: How is the company transforming the healthcare reality of the population regarding diabetes?

A: Laboratorios Silanes is celebrating its 77th anniversary this year. Throughout our history, we have focused on innovation that is aligned with the healthcare needs of Mexico and with our capacity as a company. Diabetes and metabolic diseases are the most relevant and represent around 40 percent of our revenues. To date, the most remarkable achievement of our participation in the market is our patented pharmaceutical development of glimepiride and metformin, which we licensed to companies like Sanofi. This product has not been matched in its effectiveness, making it our flagship solution. We are developing a similar combination and a new molecule is already in the registration process. Unlike other companies, Laboratorios Silanes is focused on constant innovation.

We are global leaders in metabolic disease treatments and preventive treatments for diabetic complications. We measure success not by profit but by the true impact products have on changing people’s lives. We often look for commercial partners like Sanofi that have a global presence and can help us reach more patients.

Q: What other examples can you offer regarding Laboratorios Silanes’ innovative contributions to healthcare?

A: We have a business unit dedicated to antivenoms. Labratorios Silanes is a global leader in the subject and the only Mexican company with two FDA-registered products. One of them is an anti-scorpion bite serum and the other is an anti-rattlesnake bite serum. Both products are being commercialized in the US, which is a unique step for our company. Last year, we also developed an antivenom for violin spider bite and it already has gone through basic approval processes.

We are working with WHO to tackle snake bites, which cause the death of 120,000 people and 400,000 amputations around the world every year. WHO started a project 18 months ago to reduce the number of fatalities to at least half. The organization started looking for allies to supply 3 million doses of the serum. Laboratorios Silanes is among the three companies participating in this project, which we are very proud of because it is an example of our efforts on innovation and our true commitment to contribute to healthcare.

We dedicate 10 percent of our earnings to R&D because innovation has been key to the sustainability of the company. Laboratorios Silanes has 147 registered patents and 18 months ago, we decided to invest MX$100 million (US$4.398 million) in our research center in Toluca. This allows us to have a pipeline of 18 products for the coming year. They are all at different stages but they are the engine for our growth and expansion.

Q: How does your CSR certification reflect in your work and contribution to the healthcare sector in Mexico?

A: This certificate reflects our goal of sustainability for the long term. One example is our program Integrate, which targets the lifestyle of diabetic patients. Three out of four diagnosed and treated patients do not change their habits and lifestyle. Their health education is based on solemnly trusting their treatments without changing dangerous the habits that drove them to the disease. Through Integrate, we are able to teach those patients proper eating habits with the help of a professional chef. Exercise and adherence to the treatment is also encouraged. We work with many allies on the program. The initiative is an open tool for all diabetic patients, not just our consumers.

Q: What actions does Laboratorios Silanes take to increase access to medicine for the Mexican population?

A: The first step is to develop a product that has the efficacy and safety required to ensure that a group of patients will benefit from it. This implies medical communication during research so we can perfectly identify the type of patient who will benefit from the medicine. Next is providing the right education for the patient because they need to understand the importance of adhering to the treatment. This goes hand-in-hand with the development of alternatives to join treatment programs to ensure proper follow-up, which in some cases includes economic support.

At Laboratorios Silanes, we have a production capacity of 50 million units including generics to allow more access to treatments. Additionally, we have a business unit to cover demand from public institutions in Mexico and Latin America. The production plant has all the necessary international certificates, which means we are in line with technological advances and have the best practices.

Q: How is Laboratorios Silanes contributing to the country’s efforts to counter the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: We are all reinventing our ways of working and being flexible. Laboratorios Silanes is a member of CFM and together, company members donated 88 ventilators to the country. We also have donated more than 100,000 facemasks to frontline staff and we are willing to do more.

Specifically, Laboratorios Silanes has created a social media movement called Gracias por cuidarnos (Thanks for looking out for us). When someone posts a video or a photograph thanking the medical staff on the frontlines of the pandemic, we donate to a fund to give back to these heroes and to society. This initiative encourages medical staff and delivers a message of solidarity that is always nice to hear, especially after they have suffered harassment from some groups of society.

Q: What are Laboratorios Silanes’ priorities and growth expectations for 2020?

A: We are launching a product to lower cholesterol. This product is the most effective on the market, which is why, despite the contingency, we decided to release it. The benefits are significant. Additionally, we are still expecting double-digit growth because we have been working at the same pace, with the same effort and also launching this new product.

 

Laboratorios Silanes offers more than 80 pharmaceutical products, including a recognized range of oral antidiabetics, analgesics, CNS Products as well as diagnostics and nutraceutical solutions. The Bioclon Silanes Institute, the company's biotechnology division, generates unique antivenom products

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst