Hungarian collector and producer of blood plasma and plasma-derived therapies HUMAN BioPlazma is rooted in over 60 years of history within the country, but only in 2008, with the influence and support of Italy-based Kedrion Biopharma has the company been able to transform into the powerhouse that is today.
Before becoming a part of the Kedrion Biopharma group in 2008, Hungary’s homegrown collector and producer of blood plasma and plasma-derived therapies has enjoyed a rather illustrious history—having gone from public to private, while successively relocating and changing multiple ownership structures during its lifespan. The company actually traces its origins back to 1954 when the Hungarian State created HUMAN Serum Producer in an effort to generate a steady and self-sustaining supply of plasma derivatives and vaccines. But as the tightened grips of communism lost its hold on free-market enterprise in the early 90s, investor interests began pouring into the Hungarian economy, revitalizing many state-owned entities with private stakes and fresh-baked ambitions.
Canadian generics manufacturer Novopharm became the first to embrace this new spate of privatization, but was soon snatched up by Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva in 2000. “At this point, the business had three primary pillars: plasma, vaccines, and generics,” recounts the managing director of HUMAN BioPlazma Ákos Tóth. “GSK eventually acquired the vaccine portfolio in 2005 and Kedrion acquired the plasma processing business towards the end of 2007, thus establishing HUMAN BioPlazma and writing a new chapter in our history under the umbrella of Kedrion Biopharma,” he narrates.
Kedrion wasted no time resting on its laurels and immediately set out to integrate HUMAN as a vital component of the family’s operations. The group initiated a comprehensive investment plan totaling EUR 40 million, which helped triple the company’s original production capacity from 150,000 liters of plasma fractionation per year to 530,000 by 2012, while also increasing annual revenues threefold.
“Kedrion was committed to revitalizing the company’s longstanding legacy and traditional portfolio with new investments and innovation,” recalls Tóth. “After more than 20 years of minimal R&D, we were proud to be able to introduce a new factor VIII product for patients suffering from hemophilia A in Hungary. Additionally, just last month, we launched the first liquid immunoglobulin preparation made entirely from Hungarian plasma,” he announces.
With more than 300 people now employed within the company, HUMAN evenly splits the scope of its portfolio between the domestic sale and marketing of its own production and contract manufacturing services for Kedrion Biopharma’s worldwide operations.
And although focusing on rare and serious diseases such as hemophilia, the company’s lifesaving products have a profound impact on improving the lives of Hungarian patients, having been used in 40,000 to 50,000 cases a year.
But effectively reaching the end patient is only part of the journey for international companies looking to align with local values. “Compared to the other major players in this industry, Kedrion has strived to differentiate itself and create a unique value proposition by building productive partnerships, particularly with governments, to respond to the needs of the healthcare system and support the strategic goal in plasma-derived therapies for the treatment of rare and debilitating diseases,” asserts Tóth.