As the only one of Hungary’s four historical pharmaceutical manufactures to have resisted international acquisition, Gedeon Richter stands alone as the country’s national champion. However, the company does not exist in a vacuum and, like many globally active mid-cap pharma players, establishing partnerships across the entire value chain has been made a fundamental pillar of its operational strategy.
Ranging from manufacturing to R&D and licensing agreements, the firm has built a wide network of collaborators across the globe. These partners include not only small and medium sized peers, but also Big Pharma players with strong marketing capabilities. Most notably, Gedeon Richter has teamed up with one of the world’s Top 20 biggest pharma companies, Allergan, to help it tap into the crucial North and South American markets.
Our approach to partnership is a necessary part of our operations because we cannot cover the entire value chain for every product category
The Gedeon Richter-Allergan partnership’s most significant collaboration to date has been on the potential blockbuster biosimilar cariprazine (VRAYLAR in the US). The bipolar I and schizophrenia treatment was discovered by Gedeon Richter then co-developed and licensed with Allergan. While Allergan covers the marketing of the drug in the Americas, Gedeon Richter has also inked agreements with leading Italian mid-cap Recordati to market the drug in Western Europe and Algeria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
As CEO Gábor Orbán notes, “we have secured several licensing agreements with trusted partners around the world to ensure access to [cariprazine] to patients globally. In particular, VRAYLAR in the US has seen tremendous success and it continues to be the fastest-growing antipsychotic drug in the market, even three years after its initial launch. We are also continuing to add new indications to the label to broaden its commercial potential very significantly.”
Orbán outlines, “Our approach to partnership is a necessary part of our operations because we cannot cover the entire value chain for every product category. CNS is an example where we start with the initial research and develop up until proof of concept, where we then need a partner to help bring the product to certain key markets like the US.” He adds, “We also work with the likes of Mitsubishi Tanabe, Mochida and other midcaps around the world to sell specialty pharma products in markets where Richter does not have a strong presence such as MENA.”
As well as Big Pharma partnerships, Gedeon Richter also offers contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and in-licensing opportunities to companies looking to access the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, especially for its women’s health portfolio. For example, in October 2019, Gedeon Richter signed a series of agreements with US-based biotech Mycovia for the co-development, manufacture, and commercialization of a novel oral antifungal product for women’s health.
In today’s pharma market, partnerships are increasingly central to the business development strategy of most successful mid-caps. Through these partnerships, Gedeon Richter and its partners can utilize their individual strengths to reduce risk and increase the chance of mutual success. “Partnerships are absolutely an essential strategy for midsize players like Richter,” concludes Orbán.