David Blok | Posted on October 17, 2022
“I believe that it’s always good to be innovative and try new platforms and not only traditional platforms such as trade shows all around the world.”
SUANFARMA began its journey in 1993 in Spain. Starting as a distributor of pharmaceutical APIs (the active ingredient that does the trick in the healing process), they evolved into the art of manufacturing in 2015. The manufacturing occurs in their two API factories, set in Portugal and Italy, producing both human and veterinary APIs.
But that’s not it! Apart from the pharma industry, they also have nutraceutical ingredients, which can be, for example, used for dietary supplements. So, in short, the company develops and sells pharmaceutical and nutraceutical ingredients and provides CDMO services. With a significant presence in over 70 countries, their target for the pharma business remains the top generic companies for each market.
SUANFARMA uses its local offices to promote human and veterinary APIS. They have a global sales team of more than 40 people in the APIS division, with specialists in our business areas.
For this article, we interviewed two of the employees working at SUANFARMA: Silvia Martin and Juan Ortiz. Juan Ortiz is the global director of pharmaceutical APIs. Silvia Martin is the head of marketing and communication with over 10 years of experience in the health and life sciences industry.
Head of marketing and communications
Global director of pharmaceutical APIs
Creating value for customers by developing products with quality and providing a good service is essential to every company and also taken very seriously by SUANFARMA. Plus, as mentioned before, they don’t sell the finished products; they develop and market the APIs. “We are proud that we are involved in the healing process” – Silvia Martin.
The company strives to impact people’s lives positively, and the best way to do so is to find solutions for relevant problems in the pharma industry,” added Juan Ortiz. This is the backbone of all their divisions. Contributing to making medicines with affordable prices always stays on their radar; the price offered to the final customer is an essential factor that they consider.
The headquarter is based in Spain, but they have 13 offices in different countries and sourcing offices in China and India. “I think working in such an international environment is the most exciting part,” said Juan Ortiz. Sure, it comes with some cultural challenges, like adapting to different mindsets. But the key to facing those challenges is having local people working in the company. For instance, they have nearly ten employees in China, all Chinese. The same goes for India. Also, they have a few occasional meetings in Spain to share strategies, successes, and synergies.
Seven years ago, the company grew even bigger and opened itself to investment firms. Their growth strategy needs to increase the number of their facilities. To do so, they recently reached agreements with the investment firm Archimed, their third investing firm. The goal was to get the funds to acquire factories. And it worked; these investments allowed SUANFARMA to develop several manufacturing factories worldwide. Archimed is a specialized investment firm in the pharma business. “They have a great knowledge of the sector and can help us grow by acquiring and integrating new companies that will allow us to increase our portfolio, both in the Pharma and Nutra divisions,” said Juan Ortiz.
CSR activities and Innovation
One of their most significant CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities is Foundation Arraigo; it was the idea of the company founder. The foundation aims to provide good integration for migrants in Spain, with services such as language courses, computer lessons, legal advice, and more. The goal is to help them be included in society and acquire basic skills to get a job. A good example is the sewing workshops they provide, potentially creating new job opportunities for immigrants.
The company is ambitious with its growth plan. They don’t underestimate the importance of innovation. SUANFARMA has an ambitious policy of new developments. “Innovation is key to us since we are in the process of transformation from a distributor company to a manufacturing one. We increase our portfolio year by year with the final goal of developing the new APIS and pharmaceutical ingredients”,” said Juan Ortiz.
Trends in the API market
The API market, also mentioned in one of our blogs, is highly dependent mainly on China and less excessively on India. Even India relies on China for about 70% of its API supply. Recently, a shift took place. More and more buyers were opting for European sources instead of Asian ones.
SUANFARMA also recognizes this new trend, especially since the beginning of COVID. Juan Ortiz explains that the problems started with the rise of COVID. There were many supply problems, with some companies having only one approved source of APIS. Now, they prefer to have one Chinese, one Indian, and one European source to ensure everything goes smoothly. Even if European sources were more expensive, the customers are ready to pay for the difference.
But the supply chain is not the only recent change in the pharma industry. New trends of digitalization are also hitting the market. Silvia Martin explains more about how SUANFARMA is adapting to the new era of digitization of the industry. As any company should, they want to be in the digital part of the business, stating that it’s the future. “I believe that it’s always good to be innovative and try new platforms and not only traditional platforms such as trade shows all around the world,” explained Silvia Martin.
The value of personal relationships will always remain the same; they still have one-to-one meetings with customers to build and maintain close relationships. The demand coming from customers is also digital now. Many customers contact them using digital tools like their social media accounts or platforms like Pharmaoffer and Pharmacompass.
Furthermore, they are also developing a new e-commerce platform for the nutraceuticals sector in the US. It looks like they are doing a great job when it comes to being open to recent trends and innovations in the business.
SUANFARMA, with its relevant CSR activities and modern view of digitalization, is a captivating company that we certainly will hear more and more about in the future. If you want to learn more about this Spanish pharma manufacturer, you should check out their company profile on Pharmaoffer.
It was a pleasure to interview them for this series; we hope you enjoyed reading it!