April 5,2004
Volume 82, Number 14
pp. 33-46

A look at four pharmaceutical outsourcing relationships shows that good service leads to repeat business


QUALITY TIME Quality control services, such as those offered at Avecia's biologics center in Billingham, England, are particularly important for small and start-up drug companies.
There's a lot of gloom and doom in the pharmaceutical outsourcing business these days. Drug companies are winning a fraction of the new product approvals that they were in the mid-1990s. Many of the big pharmaceutical chemical makers that serve them are saddled with too much capacity bought at prices that were too high.

Yet the drug industry is still a vibrant place. Entrepreneurial companies with interesting therapeutic ideas are developing new drugs, and many of them are outsourcing the scale-up and production of these compounds. Not all of these firms will succeed, but as they strive to turn their ideas into reality, they are a source of new business for pharmaceutical outsourcing providers.

In the pages to follow, C&EN presents four case studies of the relationship between a drug company and a pharmaceutical chemical supplier.

Two of these relationships involve traditional small molecules, one involves a fermentation product, and one involves compound libraries used in drug discovery. Some of the eight companies profiled are large, and some are small; some are old, and some are young. The relationships are unique, but they all have one thing in common: Companies that provide good service are rewarded with follow-up business from their drug industry partners.

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