"We are building our end-to-end capabilities, expanding our expertise in development services: we seek to accompany our customers throughout clinical phases with clinical batches, scale-up, and ultimately manufacturing and packaging."

Ian Cooper

CEO, FAMAR

July 26, 2021

Can you introduce Famar and provide an overview of your production capabilities?

Famar is a CDMO with six manufacturing sites throughout Italy, Spain and Greece, as well as two development centers for finished dosage forms (FDFs). Famar is also a market leader in pharma 3PL distribution services in Greece.

Across the group, we have extensive capabilities in sterile injectables, lyophilized products, ampoules, or aseptic liquids (in vials), in addition to many of the standard solid FDFs, as well as semi-solids (ointments, creams) and liquids. One of our defining capabilities is the ability to produce multi-dosage ophthalmic products, including both preservative-containing eyedrops and preservative-free eyedrops in addition to multi-dose, preservative-free, sterile nasal sprays. Separately, Famar operates a facility to manufacture with high potent APIs, as well as a separate cosmetics factory.

What is the Italian manufacturing site dedicated to?

Located in Baranzate, Milan, our Italian manufacturing site is specialized in oral solid dosage forms with strong capabilities for tablets, micro-tablets with multi-tip punch technology, capsules, extended-release capsules and sachets. This is a preferred site when we scale up our in-house innovations developed specifically for customers, and we have a team with a strongly solution-oriented mentality.

Can you elaborate on Famar’s customer profile and what is it that marks you apart in the market?

Our customer base is made of leading global pharma companies, but we also work with regional and local players, including many Italian companies. These customers either want to complement their own manufacturing or solely rely on CMOs. The client will always look for compliance and excellence, and we try to exceed expectations and deliver solutions rather than exposing problems. This proactive and resourceful mentality has continued to distinguish Famar in the market and is our most appreciated quality. We work closely with customers to arrive at win-win solutions and mutual benefits – be it by reducing our clients’ costs, making sure they present robust dossiers and stay fully compliant.

How did the pandemic impact your business and how did you deal with demand fluctuations?

By November last year, many were expecting to move into a recovery phase, and yet we moved instead into a new wave of lockdowns that were arguably more severe than the first round. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has been a trying time for everyone. Despite challenges, Famar has demonstrated resilience and flexibility, ensuring our customers’ stock and supply continuity. We worked hard to make accurate order estimates, secure timely deliveries to our customers, and change production schedules according to fluctuating market needs.

How do you think European CDMOs compete with the outsourcing havens in Asia?

The high bar of European compliance regulations used to be considered a weakness due to the high costs it incurred, but the paradigm has shifted, and customers are increasingly more cognizant of the cost of non-compliance. Pharma players find reassurance in a stringent regulatory environment like Italy’s. The pandemic has also exposed the weakness of having a long supply chain, so clients are increasingly looking to onshore what used to be imported from Asia. Our challenge today is to balance costs with profitability and operate a sustainable margin to meet the high compliance standards and generate enough return to re-invest in our business and stay competitive. Currently, we supply into the Middle East, Africa, Russia, Latin America, and Canada.

Besides manufacturing, Famar offers development, logistics, and packaging services. Why is it important to offer an end-to-end service?

We are building our end-to-end capabilities, expanding our expertise in development services: we seek to accompany our customers throughout clinical phases with clinical batches, scale-up, and ultimately manufacturing and packaging.

The distribution service is separate from manufacturing and only available in Greece. In fact, since February 2021, Famar has been supporting the Greek government as a distributor of the Corona virus vaccine to remote parts of Greece. We are currently supplying about 65 vaccination centers, a free service that is part of our social responsibility efforts. We are heartened by the very positive feedback and recognition received from the government, and glad to be playing a part in helping out with the vaccination effort.

What are Famar’s priorities in the next 2-3 years?

We aim to reinforce our end-to-end service, for which we are strengthening our R&D department. In fact, a few of our medicines developed together with our customers will be soon entering the manufacturing phase. The first one is an ophthalmic product for Medicom Healthcare, a UK-based ophthalmology company. The second product is focused on specialty diseases, which we developed together with Swedish company Active Biotech. We will continue to improve the life-cycle management of our customers’ products to make their dossiers more robust and derive shared value.

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