On March 11, Pharma’s Almanac published its recent interview with Dr. Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics, about being an industry leader and company’s milestones. As an industry magazine, Pharma’s Almanac is a leading source for in-depth analysis of life sciences. In its roundtable topics, Dr. Chen shares about the key to being a leader in the industry and important company milestones in 2022.
Pharma’s Almanac: What’s the key to being a leader in the industry?
Dr. Chen: One key is to anticipate, identify, and cater to clients’ needs. For example, with WuXi Biologics’ “follow and win-the-molecule” strategy, we have seized many opportunities in the growing market of biologics start-ups, recognizing that small biotech companies usually need to use external technologies regarding new modalities, such as ADCs or bispecifics. Foreseeing their demand for end-to-end services, we built a comprehensive, open-access platform so that they can focus on their R&D efforts instead of infrastructure investments. With this strategy, we have been enabling 480 integrated programs for global clients — 156 of them in 2021 — and have one of the largest portfolios of complex biologics, including mAbs, bispecifics, ADCs, and fusion proteins. Now, we are proud to see nine commercial manufacturing projects as successful results of this strategy.
At the same time, it is important to stay flexible and be able to address the evolving demands of diverse clients. A great portion of the small business clients WuXi Biologics serves in the development phase then become bigger companies and stay with us as they enter the manufacturing phase. As we empower clients to grow and be successful, we become their long-term partners.
Continual innovation is another key. After a successful first decade, WuXi Biologics is now entering a new era of our “CRDMO” business model. We define WuXi Biologics as a contract research development and manufacturing organization because, as opposed to traditional CMO or CRO companies, our core expertise is in discovery and development services, as well as large-scale manufacturing. We are pioneers in adopting disposable manufacturing technologies in large-scale commercial manufacturing, too, which gives us more flexibility and better efficiency by allowing us to combine multiple disposable bioreactors. In this way, we can better cater to diversified needs and fuel up client innovation.
Pharma’s Almanac: What important company milestone do you anticipate reaching in 2022?
Dr. Chen: For WuXi Biologics this year, we are going to have some significant milestones which will be the official operation and GMP release of both our U.S. site in Cranbury, New Jersey, and our European site in Dundalk, Ireland. With these locations, we will be closer to existing and prospective clients, given the fact that over 50% of our clients are headquartered in the United States or Europe. These milestones will also reinforce our “Global Dual Source” strategy — a commitment to clients that materials can be sourced and products can be manufactured at multiple WuXi Biologics locations across the globe.
As a global contract research, development, and manufacturing organization (CRDMO), we have continually expanded our capacities and capabilities in the United States, Europe, and Asia in response to growing customer demand around the world. With the COVID-19 pandemic, our reach and diversified capacity meant that we could help enable clients’ response without being restricted to any particular region.
In 2022, WuXi Biologics will also further establish full, parallel capabilities in our sites across the United States and Europe, so they can provide true one-stop service — from process development to drug substance and drug product manufacturing. Our total cumulative capital investment in the U.S. and European markets is expected to reach USD $1.5 billion this year.