This week we are pleased to sit down and meet Symbiosis’ newly appointed Commercial Director, David Collins. In this piece, we get insight into David’s experience, aspirations for the role and the company and his initial experiences here at Symbiosis.
1. What is your role here?
As Commercial Director, my role is to grow the business, achieving this by developing mutually beneficial solutions for our clients. I want quality projects delivered on time to accelerate drug development and generate value for the companies that collaborate with us. I look forward to maintaining and strengthening relationships with key business partners and clients and developing new business opportunities to fulfil the organisation’s overall business plan and strategies. Every year, new and innovative drug products and technologies emerge, changing the landscape of biopharma and the treatments that are possible; the fundamental challenge is to understand the evolving requirements of the marketplace and its incumbents and respond proactively and accordingly.
2. What is the importance and impact of outsourcing bio/pharma manufacturing?
The benefit is that companies don’t need to set up facilities and employ and/or develop expertise that might lie dormant during periods when manufacturing is not required. We are there when needed and can support aggressive project schedules to get safe and effective drug products into patients efficiently. Outsourcing can occur really at any point in a therapy’s life cycle up and through commercial production, many of the CMC (chemistry, manufacturing, and control) tasks are outsourced including process development, analytical development, testing, manufacturing, and fill/finish.
3. What do you see as the key value and benefits of working with Symbiosis?
Since joining, it has been pretty evident that there is a firm commitment to flexibility and responsiveness in client management and this is well received. From previous experience and working with consultants, the expectation for obtaining manufacturing slots can be a difficult one but I was genuinely surprised at the ability to access these in such short times here at Symbiosis. It is probably this aspect and approach here that has seen such a fast-paced evolution for the business and facilitated the ambitious plans for expansion in the short-to-mid-term.
4. What trends do you see from clients within the CMO space?
Last year we observed a growing pipeline of biologics, specifically complex oncology products (most of which are delivered parenterally), also, there appears to be an increasing demand for technically advanced manufacturing support which is feeding into the outsourcing/CMO space. CMOs with the technology and capabilities to fulfil the requirements for biologics that require special procedures and equipment, due to the necessity to ensure product quality and safety, can deliver flexible aseptic fill finish solutions.
Additionally, there appear to be more biopharma portfolios that are increasingly focused on rare and ultra-rare indications. With this comes increased pressure from the accelerated timelines under expedited program reviews, this is an area we can also help with.
5. Where do you see Symbiosis progressing in the next 5 years and what impact will that have on our clients?
One of the main reasons I joined Symbiosis was in the initial conversations with Colin (MacKay, Founder and CEO of Symbiosis) was hearing about the ambitious plans for the future. Without disclosing too much, there are plans in development for greater capacity, larger manufacturing runs and greater global reach…nearer our clients wherever they are in the world. We are (at the time of writing) close to the completion of our new analytical testing labs coming fully online, which is a massive step for the business, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Having these capabilities in-house will be a massive bonus for our clients which will allow for further expedition and efficiencies to be realised on the drug development pathway.
6. How has Symbiosis’ business evolved in recent years? What do you find most unique about the company?
The decision to focus solely on sterile injectables is important, understandably this has led to this being our major strength. Similarly, we are positioned very well to support the increasing number of ATMPs emerging from development and getting to market.
7. How can drug development companies benefit from companies like Symbiosis?
In the first instance, our position of strength emanates from our core capabilities within fill-finish but beyond that, we can deliver additional value to relationships through a suite of supplementary services. We expect the importance and value proposition of parenteral manufacturing to increase exponentially in the next decade and the foreseeable future and our aim are to be the go-to to support this market space and the sponsors therein by continuing to develop our service offering to stay at the forefront of fill-finish capabilities.
8. What are our customers’ key concerns when partnering on projects?
Invariably our clients want to see demonstrable technical expertise that will overcome obstacles, meet regulatory requirements and deliver the product to market safely and quickly. To fulfil this we work within a stringent quality environment and endeavour to ensure we have excellent communications regarding the process and flexibility where required.
9. How would you characterise the culture here at Symbiosis?
Even from my initial time with the company, it is clear to see that there is a culture of dedication, hard work and clarity of focus on the desired outcome. Out with the inherent company values that pervade through the organisation, there is a friendly vibe throughout and for that, I would like to thank my colleagues for being so welcoming!