Growing generics and the future of biosimilars

Róbert Wessman was recently interviewed by Scrip Intelligence (Scrip) an international pharmaceutical news, analysis and data service, which currently boasts a readership of over 100,000 worldwide. In it Robert focuses on the future of the generics industry, how to build a global generics company, and founding the biosimilars manufacturer, Alvotech.

The article points out that in his previous role as CEO of Actavis in the 2000s, Róbert Wessman transformed that company from an Iceland-based contract manufacturer into a generics sector leader, and that he is proving that process was no fluke since his current company, Alvogen Inc., which he founded in 2009, is now approaching annual sales of nearly a billion dollars a year, underpinned by an EBITDA of around $300m.

Developing a biosimilar is capital-intensive

Róbert Wessman is convinced a growing number of generics companies will transform into biosimilar companies in the future, as an alternative to being bought by other ever-larger companies, although he realises the switch over to biosimilar products doesn't come cheap: "Developing a biosimilar is capital-intensive and can cost up to $100m per molecule, something that historically generics companies are not comfortable with. And sales and marketing teams have to be set up along with other in-house capabilities like specialized analytics," he added. "It will be interesting to see what happens as the industry becomes more transformational."

Alvotech has more than 200 employees and has just completed a new manufacturing facility in Reykjavik, Iceland, that was inaugurated on 3 June. The company also has cell-line development facilities in Germany and capabilities in bioanalytics and the complete manufacturing value chain, including active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and fill and finish. Alvotech has publicly stated that it plans to invest more than $500m in biosimilars over the coming years, including the new Icelandic facility.

Róbert Wessman, the article tells us, is one to watch in coming years.