Boehringer Ingelheim Announces Contract Manufacturing Partnership with Abdi Ibrahim


Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), the largest private pharma company in the world, has become the latest Big Pharma player to commit to Turkish localization after announcing a contract manufacturing partnership with Abdi Ibrahim, the country’s national pharma champion.


The plan is to produce one out of every two boxes of drugs from BI’s human health portfolio in Turkey over the next five years. “[The project] lays the groundwork for a major transfer of technology and know-how between Germany and Turkey,” said Mohammed Al-Tawil, BI’s managing director and head of Human Pharma in the META region.


The announcement should not come as a surprise considering Boehringer Ingelheim’s current strong performance in the Turkish market – where the German organization grew 54.1 percent in 2020 thus becoming a top 15 company –, perhaps driven by the launch of five treatments in the last five years. BI’s two main therapeutic areas in the country are diabetes and rare diseases.


Speaking with PharmaBoardroom prior to the announcement, the company’s general manager for Turkey, Evren Özlu, explained that their main priority was executing new product launches, and in doing so, growing BI’s presence, footprint, and reputation within the country. “We will continue to invest further in Turkey, as we strongly believe in the bright future of the market,” he said.


On the receiving end of the deal is Abdi Ibrahim, the largest and oldest Turkish pharma company, which has been the market leader since 2003 thanks to their “complex business model”, as its CEO Süha Taşpolatoğlu describes it. Said model consists of generics production, contract manufacturing and in-licensing agreements with multinational companies. Today, about 50 percent of Abdi’s revenue comes from originator products.


“[Abdi Ibrahim] manufactures for its partners for both local and foreign markets. The CMO business is a small proportion of our current business, but we expect it to increase in the coming years,” Taşpolatoğlu told PharmaBoardroom in a recent interview. Upon the new announcement, the CEO explained that they will manufacture BI’s hypertension products at Abdi İbrahim’s facilities in Turkey and Algeria.


From a broader perspective, the localization project is aimed at contributing to Turkey’s efforts in securing drug supply in areas including the central nervous system, diabetes, and chronic diseases, according to Invest in Turkey’s president Burak Dağlıoğlu.


Dağlıoğlu also spoke with PharmaBoardroom weeks before the announcement, stating that Turkey has the potential to produce with high quality in many different sectors and product groups: “[Turkey’s] production systems are supported by reliable, economical, logistics and commercial services… we do not hesitate to collaborate with all stakeholders, and believe that together we can accelerate the realization of our common goals, such as a healthy population and a sustainable planet.”

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