Millie Nelson, Editor

April 11, 2024

2 Min Read

The topic of choosing a contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) is one the biopharma space has not shied away from. The conversations have ranged from, but are not limited to, the importance of timelines, knowing your molecule, and when it is time to dump your selected partner.

With “more than half of the biopharmaceutical companies in 2023 outsourcing part of their manufacturing”, Ulrich Ruemonapp, head of launch preparation and coordination at Bayer, told the audience “at the moment of choice all CDMO’s will try to look most beautiful, but what you are looking for is the best fit.”

He built upon his talk from BPI Europe 2023 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and likened the process of selecting and maintaining a relationship with your chosen CDMO as a marriage and said it is about “finding the right person” and “you have to [work together] to resolve” issues. To select the “right” partner, he said players in the space must have “predefined criteria” and remember “project planning [really] means risk planning.”

He went on to describe the dangers of companies viewing the complex relationship as something where you just “buy stuff” and reinforced the importance of it being “a people thing.” With people at the forefront, Reuemonapp also told delegates to “not underestimate cultural [differences] and time differences” when picking their partner.

German pharma giant Bayer uses a mixture of outsourcing and inhouse capabilities, but there is little available in the public domain concerning its own biomanufacturing outsourcing deals. At the BPI Europe event in Vienna, Austria, , gave a nod to when the company teamed with rival Boehringer Ingelheim in May 2011 to produce its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Betaferon (recombinant interferon beta-1b).

The company also invested heavily in its own inhouse capabilities. In April 2021, the firm laid down plans to build its Cell Therapy Launch Facility in Berkeley, California and the $250 million plant opened in October 2023.

Furthermore, Bayer itself is a player in the outsourcing space. The firm added CDMO Viralgen and its Pro10 adeno-associated virus (AAV) platform through its $2 billion acquisition of Asklepios Biopharmaceutical (AskBio) in October 2020. Under a year later, Viralgen opened a $83 million AAV manufacturing site in San Sebastian, making it the first gene therapy production plant in Spain.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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