Back to News

Biopharma manufacturing ‘turbulence’ boosts inquiries for India-based providers, local CDMO execs say

April 02, 2024

India-based CDMOs have detected an uptick in biopharma client interest in their biologics and early-phase clinical offerings – and these manufacturers are accordingly adjusting their growth strategy.

“There’s an increase in demand. There’s a lot of factors that are going on that are influencing that,” Enzene Biosciences’ CEO Himanshu Gadgil told Endpoints News in an interview. Enzene especially has seen an increase in small to midsize biopharma clients reaching out. “We will definitely be looking at being more aggressive in terms of our expansion plan,” he added.

Other India-based CDMOs, Aragen and Syngene, have also noticed an increase in business opportunities, with both noting concerns around the BIOSECURE Act as a catalyst. Potential clients are searching for an “immediately ready” secondary supply provider for commercial products, Syngene CEO Jonathan Hunt told Endpoints

The biopharma manufacturing industry is not only keeping an eye on BIOSECURE, which could see WuXi’s US clients pivot to alternative service providers, but also on the potential wider impact of the $16.5-billion Novo-Catalent deal.

“Geopolitically, it’s very turbulent right now… and sometimes in that turbulence, there are opportunities if you’re positioned right,” Gadgil said. “There is a need for geo-diversification as part of risk hedging and to ensure uninterrupted operations,” Aragen Chief Commercial Officer Ramesh Subramanian added.

But Hunt noted that the increased interest in India is something that local providers have already noticed in the past 18 months. Insecurities on BIOSECURE and the Novo-Catalent deal are a validation of biopharma clients’ search for supply chain diversification, he added.

While India is known for its generic drug production, local CMDOs are already boosting their biologics capacity. “That’s driven by both new work from the West as well as some rebalancing out of China,” Hunt explained.

Enzene is looking to be more aggressive in its expansion strategy to absorb increasing demand, Gadgil noted. The company is bringing online two manufacturing lines at its biologics site in Hopewell, NJ in September — its only site in the US — and it is now looking to add more, the CEO added.

As for Syngene, it recently announced its upgraded biologics facility will be ready to open in the second half of this year and that it has purchased 20 acres of land in Hyderabad to be a new science park, Hunt noted. The company has small molecule commercial manufacturing sites in Bangalore and Mangalore, India.

Aragen similarly has made investments, such as $30 million to build a new biologics site at its Bangalore campus as it sees renewed interest in its such offerings, Subramanian said. The company also commissioned a new formulations facility and added biomanufacturing capacity in California, he added. Aragen is a clinical-stage manufacturer of small molecules and biologics with reach in the US and India. It has an R&D center in Morgan Hill, CA.