Michael Quirmbach CEO and President
"Our main mission is the execution of a >€200 million investment into CapEx projects that will bring additional capacity and technologies online to support pharma and biotech customers as their drug development projects progress."
What are the reasons behind CordenPharma’s record 2022 year?
One of the reasons is the expansion of our business in the key areas of peptides, lipids, injectables, and highly potent and oncology. In 2022 we successfully supported the launch of several new medicines. Furthermore, CordenPharma has continued to make significant CapEx investments in technology and capabilities in the fields of peptides, lipids, and highly potent and small molecules, with most of them to be completed in 2023. For example, we launched strategic investments at our Caponago site with the construction of a GMP LNP manufacturing suite and the installation of a third commercial aseptic fill and finish line. This led to additional capabilities in terms of injectables and LNP manufacturing and uniquely positions us to offer end-to-end capabilities from initial lipid supply to LNP formulation development and final fill and finish.
Can you speak of the strategy behind CordenPharma’s decision to expand its peptide and oligonucleotide manufacturing capacity?
CordenPharma aims to continue expanding in the US and is constantly looking for acquisition opportunities for manufacturing sites, particularly in key biotech hubs such as Boston, MA. We are also considering greenfield opportunities. CordenPharma made a US$60 million investment into our CordenPharma Colorado facility in Boulder, CO, to support a multi-year agreement for the contract manufacturing of a large-volume commercial peptide, as well as to further strengthen both our large and medium-scale peptide manufacturing capacity.
We also recently decided to move back into the oligonucleotide manufacturing space in CordenPharma Colorado, as it has similarities to peptide manufacturing with significant market demand from customers asking for capacity. CordenPharma is uniquely positioned to offer end-to-end solutions for peptides and oligonucleotides from sophisticated formulation development using lipids excipients especially suited for Lipid NanoParticle (LNP) molecules encapsulating mRNA and other xRNA-based vaccines, to fill and finish sterile injectable drug products.
Are there any technology platforms currently attracting more demand than others?
In terms of peptides, because there are currently more molecules reaching the market, larger quantities are required than a few years ago. As there are only a few companies who can handle this large-scale peptide manufacturing, CordenPharma is perfectly positioned to answer this demand with our world-class site in Colorado, which has space to expand and the capability to handle the extremely large volume of solvents required for the purification of multi 100 kgs of the peptide.
Can you touch upon the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and your focus on driving down global emissions across the company?
The SBTi partnership independently assesses and approves companies’ targets in line with strict criteria, helping to support best practices for ambitious climate action in the private sector. The initiative is a collaboration between the Committee for Development Policy, the UN, and the WWF. Sustainability is our responsibility as a CDMO and has always been important to CordenPharma. Astorg’s emphasis on ESG has amplified the company’s strong focus in this regard. Our mission to reduce our carbon footprint will contribute towards real sustainability as a company, something that is becoming increasingly important for both investors and customers today. We are currently working on our roadmap and have already set some ambitious targets which we will announce next year. We are gathering the data now, as we want our targets to be science-driven and realistic, so it has real value in the long run.
What are CordenPharma’s main goals and ambitions for 2023 and beyond?
These are very exciting times for CordenPharma. Our biggest site in the US is in Boulder, CO, which is an extremely competitive environment. We attract and retain talent by offering a good salary, but also an environment where people have a purpose and can grow within the company. CordenPharma has a good reputation, offers career progression opportunities, and has a collaborative company culture. My outlook for the industry is very positive. I think pharma companies will continue to outsource, so the need for contract manufacturing will grow as more biotechs emerge. Our main mission is the execution of a >€200 million investment into CapEx projects that will bring additional capacity and technologies online to support pharma and biotech customers as their drug development projects progress.