The vibe at CPhI: Trends that are shaping contract manufacturing market

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This coverage is sponsored by: Catalent Pharma Solutions

The massive CPhI show kicked off in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday with attendee numbers that rival some small cities. An estimated 38,000 visitors from 150 countries swarmed through the facilities. They came to meet, watch and listen to about 2,500 exhibitors that included everyone from the behemoths of the industry to the newer entrants who are being sized up for their abilities to be agile, quick and innovative.  

And what is on the collective mind of this "get it done" part of the pharma industry? Everything from the mergers and acquisitions landscape--which they say looks to be slowing--to the move to more biologics, opportunities in niche markets, spray drying technology and questions of how to define continuous manufacturing.

Yes, there was a lot to talk about with lots of announcements, such as from Morristown, NJ-based Capsugel, which announced expansions at three of its facilities. But to Keith Hutchison, SVP of R&D at Capsugel, CPhI is a "listening exercise as much as anything.” It is a chance to hear what is on the minds of clients.

Hutchinson, like others, noted the active mergers and acquisitions market of the last few years, which Capsugel has been a part of. But with company valuations rising as potential targets are snapped up, he thinks it will be more about targeted acquisitions rather than big “blockbuster plays.”

For his company that has included spray drying, a technology it snagged in the 2013 buyout of Bend Research and which it looks to replicate for EU customers. The equipment can be copied easily but the people expertise, Hutchison says, requires communication lines that put the right people in touch so that expertise is shared.