Sector News

Small drug companies grow as big pharma outsources

January 24, 2017
Life sciences

The UK’s small, privately-owned pharmaceutical companies often go under the radar, but they’re playing an increasingly important role in Britain’s healthcare sector and posting impressive growth rates, according to a report from consultants Catalyst Corporate Finance.

As big players such as GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca come under pressure from rising R&D costs, stricter regulation and outcomes-based reimbursement, they’re outsourcing parts of their business that would historically have been done in-house to specialist companies.

This has led to major growth in Britain’s privately-owned pharmaceuticals sector, which offers services such as distribution, supply chain, consulting, generic development and clinical trial outsourcing, said Justin Crowther, partner and head of healthcare, at Catalyst.
“The fundamentals of the pharmaceuticals sector remain strong. However, the industry needs to continue to innovate to reflect the changing environment in which it operates. This will create opportunities for companies in the UK pharma industry over the next few years,” he said, adding that the industry was well-placed to benefit because of it’s world-class R&D and access to finance.

Catalyst reckons the fastest-growing company in Britain’s private pharma sector is Qualasept Parmaxo, which topped its list of the 50 most promising independent pharmaceutical companies in Britain this year.

The Wiltshire-based business buys licensed injectable drugs from big pharma companies and makes them ready to use in the precise dosages needed by hospitals across the country.

It sends out 2,300 items a day and has posted annual growth rates of roughly 75pc over the past three years.

Crescent Pharmaceuticals, which make generic drugs that big pharmaceutical companies aren’t interested in developing, came second. It manufactures 150 copycat drugs an exports these to more than 16 territories, with a primary focus on the UK market.

Crawford Healthcare, another fast-growing company and maker of high-tech dressings for serious wounds, was fourth on the list, while Nottingham-based Quotient Clinical came ninth.

This company helps big pharma control spiralling costs from clinical trials by making the process much more efficient. It can help reduce drug development timelines by six months of more. Between 2012 and 2015, the company reported 25pc sales growth each year.

“Big pharma looking to focus on its core activities and outsource specific expert activities has led to major growth in pharmaceutical service-based companies,” Mr Crowther said.

“Those that bring focus and expertise to an area of the supply chain, and therefore cost savings and value-add to big pharma, have been rewarded with stellar growth.”

By Julia Bradshaw

Source: The Telegraph

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