Claudio Castro
General Manager
View from the Top

Reconsidered Mission Broadens Focus from Generics

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:22

Q: What is the strategy behind Synthon’s shift from generics to CNS, oncology and MS?

A: We still produce generics in these therapeutic areas but the dream of Synthon’s founder was to develop high-quality molecules at affordable prices to reach unattended populations.

During its early stages, the company developed molecules for large consumer volumes. International market trends eroded the price of these molecules and in 2007 the company reconsidered its mission. Generics were growing because countries were seeking quality drugs at good prices and biotechnology provided the biological medicines to replace small molecule medicines. We wanted to reach patients in both areas so we created a division called Synthon Generics and another called Synthon Biopharmaceuticals. The latter develops new molecules such as antibody drug conjugates to fight cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer.

Synthon focuses on CNS because the population is aging. If we had evaluated the market 50 years ago, we would have chosen to tackle tuberculosis or typhus because people died of these illnesses at a young age. A change in hygiene habits controlled those diseases but new ones developed as people grew old, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer. Now CNS is a big market because there is a large population that needs care.

Q: What areas of research do you manage in Mexico?

A: In Mexico we carry out the clinical studies that the authorities require of us and participate in the company’s global research projects. We are planning to start phase three of our SYD 985 project involving breast cancer monoclonal antibodies and Mexico is one of the study’s sites. We will look for patients needing treatment and register the protocol with CROs. We need patients with terminal breast cancer that bear specific technical traits, such as HER 2 positive tumors. Globally we invest around 35 percent of our total sales in research in a regular year and in certain circumstances almost 50 percent. Our company is always betting on the future.

Q: What are your plans for the plant in Jalisco, soon to open and how will it impact your position here?

A: The plant required an investment of around US$20 million and will measure 8,000m2 with a capacity of 200 million tablets, 200 million capsules, 15 million blister packs and 1 million bottles. The plant is mainly focused on high-containment products such as oncological products, for which volumes are small. It will be certified by the EMA, as are all our sites, because we have plans to export in the future.

The main focus right now is to produce for Mexico but since COFEPRIS is recognized in certain Central American countries, some products manufactured in this plant will be sent to Central America. Given Mexico’s proximity to the US, in the future it could be an option to gain FDA approval to send our products north as well. There is no doubt the plant will make our company stronger. We did not build it to increase our production capacity because we have enough capacity globally to supply Mexico without a problem.

Q: What are Synthon’s plans and expectations in the coming years?

A: We want to become a quality reference in oncology and to be ranked within the top 15 laboratories worldwide treating CNS and MS. We have two chemotherapy products in the market and are launching products for multiple myeloma and lung cancer, and we are working on Imatinib, our first product for leukemia. We are the only lab in Mexico that has three aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer