– Edgardo Taraciuk, Vice President of Laboratorios – Argentina
The vice president of Laboratorio Tuteur highlights the position of his company as the leaders in specialty products in Argentina.
Could you please give us an historical overview of Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A., a company with more than 40 years of history?
Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. is a company based in Argentina with more than 40 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1972, the Hahn family entered the pharmaceutical industry for the first time. Rodolfo Hahn started the business by commercializing with organotherapeutic products, mainly with Heparin. In 1977 Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. opened its first production plant due to great demand for Heparin worldwide. The company become the major producers of Quimotrypsin in the world.
After two successful decades, in 1995, Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. signed a joint venture with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and created Teva Tuteur. This merger was established with four basic business units: Hemoderivates, Oncological, Special Treatments and Clinical Rehearsals. We were the first company in the world to participate in Protocol 1050, Copaxone® rehearsal phase IV.
Some years later, in 2011, Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. acquired Teva’s shares in Teva Tuteur and gained the autonomy necessary to carry out its strategic plan of international expansion. Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. reached a total output of 1,000 different batches of oncological products.
What is the focus of Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. today?
Tuteur’s backbone is specialty products. Here, it is important to mention that the Argentinian healthcare system covers, among others, rare diseases of low incidence and high cost. This coverage is unique compared to other countries at a regional level or even beyond. Nevertheless, products with higher prices and lower use cases can be easily considered a game changer of the industry. This is the market segment that has been growing the most and it will keep on growing in the future.
Is Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. today ready to compete with the new pharma players’ focus on specialty products?
Looking back, Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. is today extremely proud with its decision to target specialty products with our portfolio. As you mentioned, all the big local pharma companies are doing today what we started to do twenty years ago. This, at the end, is our main strength, competitive advantage and signature as well. Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. an Argentinian pharmaceutical company that has been working on specialty products for the last 20 years.
Specialty products aren’t the cheapest way into a pharma market. What is Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. offering to compensate for the price disadvantage?
In Argentina and in the rest of the world, specialty products pose a challenge to the payers as these are expensive products. As I mentioned before, our company envisioned this segment as a crucial avenue of growth and still considers it to be one.
Today Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. is offering the biggest and best complete team of doctors, nurses, psychologists and people to provide the best attention to the patients through the medical process. Here, is important to remember that we are not only selling a drug: we are educating how to fight the disease.
What is the main challenge for pharma companies in Argentina?
The major challenge of any laboratory in Argentina today is the pipeline of products. We have to be faster than the others. Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. manufactures oncology, haematology, CNS and orphan diseases products. For instance, we have all the possible existent molecules in the oncology segment, which is the reason why our main exports come from oncology. Then the next step is investing our time and money to be able to develop new molecules in other pathologies. There are a lot of pathologies of diseases of low incidence and high cost out there still to be developed.
When it comes to launching a product, is Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. using any specific strategy?
Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. is always between the three best sellers in all the tracks we explore and sell, which means that whenever we launch any product, we are 100 percent sure that what we are about to offer is the best of the market. For instance, RUMALAR® has been one of our recent successes when it comes to product launched with immediate return of cost of investment achieved.
Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. has recently inaugurated a new manufacturing plant. What are your ambitions when it comes to manufacturing?
Our “state of art” plant of 4,000m2 is located in Mataderos, in the west part of Buenos Aires. Our plant is definitely beyond typical Argentinian standards. With no doubts, this is the best pharmaceutical plant of the country. The plant has adopted the latest technologies and complies with international standards required for the production of pharmacological products according to PIC/S standards. Today we have applied to qualify for EMA (European Union) standards. By the end of the year we will begin the manufacturing of new products under our oncology portfolio.
The products from Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. are distributed on the national market, as well as reaching in countries like Russia, your top selling destination. How well is Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. working at the international level?
We are licensing much less than what we would like: 90 percent of the available licences go to Tecnofarma, a company that belongs to the local giant Raffo’s. Here, it is fair to recognize that they did a great and aggressive job of promoting themselves as the partner of choice to the Latin American market. We clearly need to increase our presence in some key markets in Latin America. For instance, most of the companies from Europe look for a partner with the maximum presence and coverage across the whole of Latin America to partner with and agree on the commercialization of licences.
In terms of exports, apart from Russia, the markets where we are exporting today are Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Bahamas and other European countries. Then, we are in the process of registering our products in Costa Rica. Having said that, our first objective is to increase our exports to the markets that have less restrictive regulatory requirements.
What according to you are the pillars on which the company can rely to develop its future successes and where do you expect to see Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A. in five years?
My mission, and the company’s main pillar, is to push and motivate our R&D people to try to make as many new molecules as possible every single year. This is the key success factor for us. As I mentioned before, the pipeline of each laboratory is, at the same time, the future of each company.
My goal is to register eight products per year and try to launch each of them into the market. This is Laboratorio Tuteur S.A.C.I.F.I.A.’s dogma, and my ambition is to keep our leading position in each and every molecule that we send to the market.