Ricardo Carbucicchio, CEO,

NTC

"We start by identifying unmet medical needs and applying our technological and regulatory expertise to develop new drugs, medical devices and, occasionally, food supplements."

Can you give us a brief overview of Novelty Technology and Care (NTC)? NTC leverages technology to discover and develop novelty products that improve people’s care. We are partnered with around 250 pharmaceutical companies globally, selling our products in approximately 100 countries. Operating a B2B model, we start by identifying unmet medical needs and applying our technological and regulatory expertise to develop new drugs, medical devices and, occasionally, food supplements. Most of NTC’s employees are recruited from MNCs, but we have a very young and diverse talent: 70% of our team are women and the average age for our employees is under 40.

What is NTC’s current innovation focus in ophthalmology? NTC operates in selected therapeutic areas, but our biggest focus is ophthalmology. A recent program we are working on is antibiotic resistance, as inspired by the large-scale WHO program. The widespread use of antibiotics in ophthalmology has made several currently administered therapies largely ineffective. NTC has worked intensively to identify antibiotics with the lowest level of resistance with a broad spectrum of action on gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. We have combined these products with anti-inflammatory drugs that are commonly used in ophthalmology and explored new therapeutic indications. For example, we developed the first fixed combination in eye drops for the treatment of post-cataract patients to be used for only one week after the intervention compared to other options on the market that require two weeks’ administration. By reducing this timeframe, we also reduce patients’ exposure to antibiotics, we improve compliance and simplicity in drops intake. We are also finalizing the development of the first fixed combination of an antibiotic and a non-steroidal antinflammatory drug for bacterial conjunctivitis. The combination of an antibiotic with a NSAID has the advantage of providing faster improvement of signs and symptoms. Additionally, we have developed several products with antiseptic properties to reduce the risk of infection in ophthalmic surgery or to treat blepharitis, a very common condition caused by bacteria like staphylococci. NTC also has a large range of innovative products to treat dry eye, and we are the first company to have fully developed ointments with hyaluronic acid. We have also developed eye drops transforming into gel when applied into the eye as a reaction to the change in temperature (in other words, a gel in drops). Finally, we have developed a range of sprays for dry eyes and allergies. Could you familiarize our audience with some other key products in your portfolio? For gastroenterology, we have a line of products for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, our most important product is a new drug for patients undergoing colonoscopy. This innovative product aims to clean the patient’s colon in a couple of hours in a very simple and efficient way. The product is patient-friendly and easy to take. It is currently completing Phase 3, and we have 1,000 enrolled patients as part of a very large clinical program across several European countries. I expect this product will enter the registration phase before the end of 2021. How has the pandemic impacted demand for your products, but also the running of clinical trials? Hospital visits decreased significantly during the pandemic and the number of eye surgeries dropped. Otherwise, patients continued to treat themselves for dry eye or glaucoma, so non-hospital products were not significantly affected. For our clinical trials, we clearly had to navigate many challenges, but luckily, our experienced team reacted fast with the recruitment of patients for our clinical programs as soon as the pandemic started to ease. In this way, we did not suffer any material delays. Moving forward, we expect a growing ophthalmology market as the global population grows, and people’s lifespans are also growing. What are NTC's key objectives in the next 2-3 years and do you have a final message for our audience? Our main goal is to establish global partnerships for many innovative products and to market a significant portion of our portfolio in 50-100 countries. Currently, our Italian business represents only about 15% of our sales. 70% of our sales are European, and the remaining 30% are outside of Europe. We recently entered two large partnerships in Asia, and we expect China to be an important growth driver in the coming years.

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