Award Winning Customer Care from DSM BioSolutions




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Video title: Award Winning Customer Care from DSM BioSolutions
Released on: April 04, 2012. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed in Amsterdam at BioEurope Spring 2012, Fintan Walton talks to Villaume Kal of DSM BioSolutions
DSM BioSolutions: Platform and capabilities
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review on this show I have Villaume Kal who is Vice President at DSM BioSolution, Welcome to the show.
Villaume Kal:
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Villaume you basically head up the microbial biologics side of DSM, could you just describe to us what that part of DSM is particularly in relation to the whole of DSM? DSM is a well recognized CMO organization; tell us about that particular side of the business.
Villaume Kal:
BioSolutions are group offers microbial fermentation development and manufacturing services in essence to the global pharmaceutical industry the food industry and what we call white biotech or clean tech so in essence trying to replace products currently manufactured from fossil fuels by microbial fermentation using renewable carbon sources.
Fintan Walton:
Right okay so obviously that is a very specialized area, looking in from a pharmaceutical and biotech perspective the types of microbial organisms you use for manufacturing are what is the range?
Villaume Kal:
Its in essence a very broad platform so we use used yeast fungi bacteria so in essence we are broad platform of organism and expression systems and we use for CE Mark activities as well as for DSM's own product businesses.
Fintan Walton:
Okay alright so obviously the industry is increasingly referred to or use biologics as a means for development therapeutics.
Villaume Kal:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
So why should a company a pharmaceutical company biotech company want to use DSM BioSolution lets say of another CMO?
Villaume Kal:
What I think BioSolutions is unique in a sense that the expression systems that we use are also deployed elsewhere within DSM on a commercial scale so we have in fact proven that we can commercially apply these expression systems to the benefit of DSM and also our customers so we give them access to a proprietary know how that benefits our customers to bring that products to markets faster.
Fintan Walton:
So from a you are saying from a regulatory authorities recognize your capabilities?
Villaume Kal:
Also, also yes and in fact so it is the continuous developments of these expression systems pre develop the corresponding fermentation and purification processes from there to make lets say upscaling more robust and with a lot less risk.
Fintan Walton:
Right so that brings on that actually brings me into where you fit in all of this because obviously a company may have a specific protein/peptide that they want to produce so where do you start where can you start to help a particular customer right at the very beginning or where do you take them from?
Villaume Kal:
To be honest its very flexible we are very flexible in that sense. If a customer would like to use their own strain or whether they would like us to construct the strain we are open in essence to start from any moment onwards. We do think it is critical though to combine both development capabilities together with our manufacturing capabilities because it is the robustness of the upscaling that is critical for success but again we can start the development trajectory in essence at any point.
Processes, solutions and interfacing with mammalian side of DSM
Fintan Walton:
Right now obviously manufacturing involves a number of processes obviously it's the actual fermentation process itself is an element of that and then you go on into the purification so within the scope of BioSolutions what sort of solutions are you providing to protein/peptide production?
Villaume Kal:
I think again what differentiates us is that the fermentation processes that we can run we can scale up immediately from ten liter upto a few thousand liter or even beyond because of the lets say the robustness of these systems we can forego a lot of the intermediate steps that many CMO's currently are using so it makes for a faster scale up and again in a more robust manner.
Fintan Walton:
Right and of course there are other systems like mammalian systems which you also get involved in DSM has that particular activity so when a customer comes to you and say that this is the type of protein we want to try and produce for a peptide do you how do you provide the ultimate solution to that problem to that issue because obviously there are many ways of attacking this so how would you interface let's say for example with the mammalian side of DSM?
Villaume Kal:
So the collaboration with our mammalian colleagues of course is very intimate typically of course the mammalian strains are used for monoclonal antibodies and those kind of products a very broad category. There have been situations where we have successfully scaled up also mammalian proteins using microbial expression systems but these are very specific applications on a client by client basis typically you have to identify upfront with the scientists what is the most let's say the most worthwhile trajectory and one that promises the highest probability of success.
Involvement in Biosimilars
Fintan Walton:
The other area that obviously is emerging rapidly is the area of the biosimilars, do you play in biosimilars do you get involved in the manufacturing of biosimilars?
Villaume Kal:
We are starting too at this point yes.
Fintan Walton:
And that's on behalf of companies that want to produce them rather than just doing them for yourselves?
Villaume Kal:
Correct, yes. So when it comes to biosimilars at this point in time we do not have let's say an own product strategy we typically manufacture these biosimilars for our clients.
How does DSM BioSolutions compete on a cost basis?
Fintan Walton:
Right, now that's in the background of all of this ofcourse is cost and how do you differentiate yourselves in respect to both in your own capabilities but also on a cost basis do you compete on a cost basis?
Villaume Kal:
Well cost is always important and furthermore depends a little bit on the segment about what kind of cost a business case can carry. Generally speaking we are competitive to very competitive but again it depends a little bit on segment what it takes to be successful.
Fintan Walton:
So that cost is variable according to what you are trying to produce at?
Villaume Kal:
So again if you look at our the breadth of our activities cost has a entirely a different meaning let's say in a wide biotech more industrial types of products than it would have in a let's say mid clinic or late clinical stage biopharmaceutical protein nonetheless competitive cost is always I would say qualifier to be in the business.
Innovation in manufacturing and colloboration strategy
Fintan Walton:
The other thing is that there is a lot of established systems you have got your own established ways of producing proteins through microbial systems. What about the innovation there how does a company like DSM and particularly DSM BioSolution look at ways in which they can improve the manufacturing or even enter areas that are more difficult?
Villaume Kal:
We typically try to collaborate in innovation with our colleagues either on the mammalian side or also on the food side so there are increasingly new technologies and innovations developed there that we can leverage to the benefits of our customers for microbial systems as well and that could be let's say higher outputs (indiscernable) from our microbial expression systems and which we call PlugBug, it can also be improved purification processes and innovations when it comes to equipment or unit operations to make these processes again more robust yielding higher quality and outputs.
Fintan Walton:
Right and the terms of where you manufacture where are your manufacturing sites?
Villaume Kal:
So for the microbial activities our main manufacturing is in Italy whereas all the development in the Netherlands.
Fintan Walton:
And how important is location from your perspective from your customers perspective?
Villaume Kal:
I would say location is probably not the most important element because we serve clients in essence from all over the world United States Europe Asia I think you need to consolidate your activities where it makes most sense DSM has for example consolidated all its microbial fermentation research activities for all the DSM business groups including BioSolutions in the Netherlands and thereby creating a lot of critical mass that you need to purchase and create access expensive analytical equipment so where it makes sense to consolidate and collaborate we will the synergy in terms of manufacturing is probably less and in that sense manufacturing in Italy is a concept that works for us.
Plans over the next five years
Fintan Walton:
So in terms of the future and how you see the DSM BioSolutions growing and serving customers what sort of changes do we expect to see or there changes that we can expect to see over the next five years?
Villaume Kal:
Well I think if you look at the global pharma industry and biopharma industry in particular we see increasingly customers seeking supply chain solutions so in other words not just a solution for an individual problem but a string of issues and thereby what we see increasingly is that we collaborate with our colleagues on the chemical sides and the fill and finish sides and manufacture products for customers including the chemistry so starting from our microbial fermentation intermediate follow on chemistry follow on fill and finish to finally provide our customers with a drug product rather than an intermediate or just a drug substance so providing a complete solution leveraging the breadths of our capabilities is something that we see growing.
Fintan Walton:
Right so providing that solution is done through obviously great customer care?
Villaume Kal:
Well I am very happy to share with you that in fact today DSM BioSolutions won at a PharmaBioAsia the best CMO awards which I presume and must assume is a recognition of our performance with our customers and their appreciation for the contribution that we make to their businesses.
Fintan Walton:
So from your perspective obviously your role is to try and make sure customer care is top that's relatively easy to do but from an innovation technology point of view are you in a position to serve those needs into the future?
Villaume Kal:
So one of our key focus areas in that sense is sustainability obviously how we apply multiple technologies to the help to drive down the footprint of what is that we do and that could be micro reactor technology on the chemical side or the use of bio catalysis that's a critical element. Regulatory performance is another one so traceability, quality and reliability is another important element which obviously is I would say a qualifier to be successful in this part of the business where it is something where you have to relentless in your performance because as soon as you face an issue in that area I guess we all know what the potential consequences are so these remain apart from innovation very important and critical elements.
Fintan Walton:
Villaume Kal thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Villaume Kal:
Thank you my pleasure.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Villaume Kal
Vice President and Business Unit Director
At the time of recording this PTV interview Villaume Kal serves as Vice President and Business Unit Director at DSM BioSolution. Villaume is responsible for the business operations of the microbial fermentation business, which offers a multitude of products ranging from complex metabolites to bioactive proteins.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
DSM BioSolutions
DSM BioSolutions a business unit of DSM Pharmaceutical Products serving the biopharmaceutical market is the custom manufacturing and technology resource within Royal DSM NV a global life sciences and materials sciences company that delivers innovative products and services to create solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials.