Can you give an overview of Seqens and the evolution of the company?
Seqens is an integrated global leader in pharmaceutical synthesis and specialty ingredients with 24 manufacturing sites across the globe. We also have 10 R&D centers in the EU, the UK, and the United States (where our most recent facility opened in February 2023 and serves as the company's North American flagship for our global R&D network). We assist our customers, ranging from small biotechs to large pharmaceutical companies, in developing, scaling up, and manufacturing drug substances from the pre-clinical to commercial phases. We currently supply more than half of the aspirin demand in the United States, and we are also leaders in the supply of paracetamol, ketamine, and other basic APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients).
Can you elaborate on Seqens’ new R&D center inaugurated in February?
The US market is currently the most dynamic in terms of novel drugs, and the majority of Seqens' growth in this space has come from collaborations with biotechs and big pharma in the US. We decided to build an R&D center where there will be future demand. The primary goal of the center is to accelerate the development of APIs and excipients, such as lipids used in the production of RNA vaccines. We chose Massachusetts as the location for the facility because it is the most dynamic state in the world for drug discovery and development, as well as because it is close to an academic hub with prestigious universities and colleges.
What are the most notable challenges brought on by the global pandemic in your view?
Of all APIs, 80% are produced in Asia. The remaining 20% are produced in Europe and the United States. The pandemic caused severe supply chain disruptions, forcing companies and manufacturers to reconsider product and raw material sourcing.
Over 5000 drugs are sold on the European market today, and at least 20% of these are perpetually in chronic shortage.
We are in an era when it is critical to develop critical molecule supply chains in order to reduce reliance on China and to produce APIs where demand exists. We will continue to face critical shortages until we begin manufacturing in the United States for the United States, and in Europe for the European Union.
Currently, the majority of demand comes from the United States and Europe, but we have seen a significant increase in demand from China and India each year due to their large populations and population growth. As volumes and capacity tend to be allocated where there is growth in demand, this increase in demand from Asia creates additional shortages in Europe.
Does Seqens have any expansion plans for the future?
Seqens will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2023. We started from the ground up and have grown to become a €1.4 billion global corporation. We intend to more than double our revenue in the US in the coming years, primarily through collaborations with US biotechs. In terms of new facilities, we do plan to continue expanding our presence - our annual capex spend is €150 million Euro, with the majority of that going to development in Europe and the United States.
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