Providing greater access to quality yet affordable health care has become a necessity to nations worldwide. Rising to the challenge in the pharmaceutical segment, Canadian company ACIC Group positions itself as a trusted partner that can help companies widen their reach and provide economical solutions to health care concerns.
"Many new drugs are more complicated to develop, and regulations are getting more stringent," says ACIC president Luciano Calenti. "If we want to support health care systems around the world, we need drugs that are more competitive than those currently available on the market. Asia has the potential to supply a big portion."
Initially providing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and antibiotics to the United States and Canadian markets, ACIC has expanded its portfolio to provide
a full spectrum of services across four divisions: fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, biosimilars and machinery. Operating for more than 40 years, ACIC lends its extensive expertise to pharmaceutical suppliers in order to help increase their standards in the quality manufacturing of industry-compliant products.
The company acts as a bridge linking suppliers and end-product manufacturers. Sharing its knowledge on the fastest and most efficient way to enable companies to take their products to market, ACIC provides partners with APIs, contract manufacturing services, process development and optimisation, clinical services, and finished dosage forms from facilities approved by Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) and inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Renowned in the industry for its commitment to health care, ACIC was recognised at the 2012 Contract Manufacturing Organization (CMO) Leadership Awards in the categories of innovation, productivity and regulatory. Only companies in the top 25th percentile of more than 200 CMOs worldwide were selected to receive awards.
Adopting a global development approach, ACIC is partnering with companies from around the world. "We are not a multinational company, but we think and act like a multinational company through our strategic alliances," Calenti says.
Aside from working with American and Canadian companies, ACIC collaborates with European, Middle Eastern and Asian firms. ACIC has taken a particular interest in Asia, as it exhibits a strong appetite for manufacturing and exporting products. ACIC assists exclusive suppliers in export readiness, territorial expansion and profitability.
"Only a small percentage of Asian companies are able to meet the strict requirements of the more highly-regulated pharmaceutical industry. We would like to increase those numbers by changing the mindset of the industry to include, for example, the idea of teamwork in which a person at the bottom is as equally well-trained as one at the top," Calenti says.
As ACIC continues to help Asian pharmaceutical companies meet industry standards, its sister company, Methapharm, sees opportunities for distributing niche pharmaceuticals and medical devices in this market. With approvals and pending licence registrations for Provocholine - its bronchial airway hyper-responsiveness product - in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, Methapharm plans to introduce it to Chinese and other Asian markets.
ACIC has been forging partnerships in China for more than 20 years and has developed good relations with a number of the country's pharmaceutical companies. "We're working together with China. While they are being proactive in cleaning up the environment, we're helping them meet regulatory standards," Calenti says.
For example, ACIC helped Hangzhou Zhongmei Huadong Pharmaceutical pass CGMP certification and FDA inspection. Another company, Hainan Hailing Pharmaceutical, underwent its first FDA inspection last month. In addition, three other Chinese companies will be ready for FDA inspection this year.
"Chinese companies, having a reputation in many cases for being merely the most inexpensive choice, need to demonstrate how good price can be matched with good quality. This is one of our most important business objectives," Calenti says.