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Festival of Pharma empowers GVK BIO to meet with smaller companies that don’t normally attend events

1 Oct 2020

Ahead of the world’s largest ever virtual pharma expo – the CPhI Festival of Pharma – Informa Markets spoke with Ramesh Subramanian, Chief Commercial Officer at GVK BIO on how they are preparing for the event.



Can you tell me about your company and what you do?

GVK BIO is a CRDO – a contract research & development organisation – we help our customers ‘Accelerate R&D’. We support our partners through seven global sites, and a committed, customer focused staff of 3000. Our approach is to help customers accelerate programs into the clinic and then, advance them through commercialisation and into medicines.

What do you hope to achieve from the CPhI Festival of Pharma?

CPhI has been one of GVK BIO’s top global meetings helping us meet with our key current partners and also develop new ones, as well as providing ‘a pulse of the industry’ to help identify trends and direction. We use our discussions here with customers to recognize their future needs and align GVK BIO’s strategy.  So we are looking forward to achieving the same goals at this year’s virtual event too.

What type of customer are you trying to meet with?

We target two broad segments: the big pharma companies looking for providers like ourselves to expedite multiple development programs across a number of targets, and biotech customers that have a core program or two to support. The strength of CPhI is that it allows biotechs to access several suppliers in one place. It enables them to meet and assess a number of suitable partners at one location, have detailed discussions, and potentially choose the partner that they are most comfortable with.

What are you going to be talking about with customers this week?

Our strategy is to align our investments and strategy with our customers future needs, and the ongoing pandemic has demonstrated the importance of external partnerships to advance programs. GVK has seen a lot of customer interest in some of our recent investments, particularly in high potency (we can now make up to 1 ug/L) and continuous flow technologies. In discovery, we are expanding our footprint in chemistry and biology. In fact, the past year has been stellar in terms of capital raised for the industry, and there has been an increased demand for outsourcing services. The other major trend that is accelerating quickly – and actually predates COVID – is the ‘China +1’ strategy, where customers want to geo-diversify their supply chain, and GVK has been a major beneficiary of this.

Finally, even as we grow our legacy small molecule business, the fastest growing segment for us is our biologics business, base near San Francisco. We expect biologics development, and cell culture manufacturing to be a key growth driver for us, we are now looking to advance this quickly. So you can expect an announcement from us in the near future on this.

Are there any sessions or any elements you’re particularly looking for in the next two weeks?

One of the nice things about this year is that more people are able to take part in the event, as it is digital. We have our teams looking at the sessions to identify what fits best for them and how they can implement it into their personal learning objectives.

Are there any categories you entered for this year’s CPhI Awards? If so, tell us a bit about your entry.

We love the awards and are very honoured to be finalists in the Supply Chain Category.  Supply Chain, with COVID, has been a big area of interest for our customers and we are pleased to see our efforts to minimize disruption and ensure supply chain continuity and robustness have been recognized.

Do you think over the next few years we’re going to see more digital events?

One thing I will say is because it’s virtual, it allows us to have a lot more productive meetings and invite more people – as there are no travel budget concerns. The interesting aspect is that we anticipate many customers may wait until the very last minute to confirm attendance. It also means you can have a far wider geographic spread of customers – and we are looking forward to meeting with potential new business leads that would not necessarily, ordinarily, been able to attend a CPhI in person.

What are you looking forward to at next year’s CPhI?

We look forward, like everyone else, to the world reopening next year, and I think people have started to fully appreciate just a what a great event CPhI Worldwide is. Now that we are unable to attend in person, we can’t wait to be back with the community again next year. This is an amazing industry - the only one whereby doing well, you can also directly impact human health - and CPhI is an integral component of its ecosystem. We wish the event every success.

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