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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Future Investment

PMPS: What first attracted you to the pharmaceutical industry?

Jean-Marc Pardonge: Working in the pharmaceutical industry is very fulfilling. Our customers are helping patients and contributing directly to their quality of life, and our drug delivery device industry segment is very involved in this process. You can’t create and develop effective drug delivery devices unless you understand both the drug products that they are designed for and patients’ needs. It’s a complex industry, requiring impeccable quality, and with technology playing a key part.

How would you describe your business philosophy?

I think it is vital to know your own company and the people who work there, and to create a vision that is shared with everyone, as well as having a set of values that everybody believes in. One thing that I have always paid particular attention to is getting people with different views of the business to work together effectively: the engineers and technicians on one side, and customer-facing staff on the other. Our new business with Aptar Stelmi, our injectables elastomer specialist, is certainly such an opportunity, one that provides plenty of scope in terms of best practices and positive benchmarks.

Looking ahead, what do you see as the major challenges facing the industry?

There are a number of well-known challenges, such as the patent cliff, emerging markets, biosimilars, mergers, and health cost containment. Fast growing markets in Asia and South America are increasingly being seen as the next major growth areas for the pharmaceutical industry; however, moving into these new regions is not a simple matter. Western business models are not always appropriate, pharmaceutical regulation can vary widely from one country to another, and it is essential to have an in-country team and manufacturing facilities in the region. Finding the right business model is a major challenge for the industry as it seeks sustainable growth. For companies such as ours, faced with a changing market, a key step is to anticipate future trends. We also have to be very adaptable and agile, and listen carefully to what our customers are saying. As always, innovation and operational excellence are central to success.

What do you consider to be priorities for innovation today?

Innovation needs to be focused on the initiatives that the industry sees as high priority. One such initiative is improving patient compliance and adherence. According to the World Health Organization, adherence to therapies is the primary factor that determines the success of treatment: “medicines will not work if you do not take them”.

Poor adherence reduces optimum clinical benefits and with them the overall effectiveness of health systems. Innovation in dose indicators, dose counters and dry powder inhalers is a key enabler for improving compliance in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment. Electronics are also starting to play their part and provide a number of innovative functions to support compliance.

I also think that another priority should be to reduce the total cost of ownership for our customers by combining quality-driven innovation with cost-effective solutions.

How do you think that the industry will change over the next 10 years?

Although 10 years might seem to be a long time, in our industry it is seen as the short-term because it is the average time taken for a new prescription device to move from initial concept to mass production.

Industry growth in this timeframe is going to be driven by a number of factors. We are going to see many generic opportunities worldwide over the next five years, as generic companies rush to fi ll the market space that will become vacant as blockbuster products hit the patent cliff.

Also, we are still likely to see some new chemical entity projects, but there will be very few in comparison with the past. On the contrary, there will be more new biotech compounds, which are already featuring heavily in the industry’s pipelines. And with the biotechs will come the biosimilars – their own generics – providing another driver for change and more opportunities.


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Jean-Marc Pardonge has recently been appointed as President of Aptar Pharma’s Prescription Division. He is also General Manager of Aptar Stelmi. After graduating from ENSAM engineering school, France, Jean-Marc joined Aptar Pharma Prescription Division in 2000 as R&D Manager. He was promoted to Vice President of R&D in 2003, then in 2010 became President of Global Market Development.
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