While the onset of COVID-19 saw many businesses struggling to survive, for Famar, a leading European contract development and manufacturing organisation, it presented the perfect opportunity to start again. “The business had been through some very tough years,” says CEO Konstantinos Rengis.
“But in March 2020, Famar began a new era, following its acquisition by investment funds Elements Capital Management and York Capital Management. Since then, we’ve been focusing on turning the business around after years of crisis and challenges; something that’s had to be done under the black clouds of the global pandemic.”
“We maintained our full operations, without interruption, despite operating in some of the worst-hit areas in Europe, notably Italy and Spain.”
The pandemic certainly made things more challenging but, in the end, it only made Famar stronger. “COVID-19 provided us with the opportunity to showcase our adaptability and creativity,” Konstantinos explains. “We maintained our full operations, without interruption, despite operating in some of the worst-hit areas in Europe, notably Italy and Spain.
“We were also able to deploy a record amount of capital investment to bring our sites and equipment back up to full efficiency and increase capacity for key dosage forms. The period spanning 2020 and 2021 has made us more resilient as an organisation, able to adapt and grow, successfully navigating through the most difficult, volatile and uncertain circumstances.”
The crisis also had another unexpected silver lining: it strengthened Famar’s relationship with its customers. “We are now even closer to them, despite travel bans and the lack of face-to-face meetings,” Konstantinos shares. “We are in constant communication to anticipate shifts in their demand, ensuring our ability to supply the medicines that their patients need on time, avoiding out-of-stock issues. This is huge, since many of the pharmaceuticals that we produce for our customers are life-saving, essential medicines.”
Now that the CDMO is back on solid ground, Konstantinos says its focus is on investing and improving in all areas of the business. To date, it has six production centres and two research and development units for pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare products in Greece, Italy and Spain. “In the new Famar, we have been investing in our tangible and intangible assets, our business and the core of our force, our people,” he reveals.
“In addition to investing in our culture, which puts our customers at the centre, it is clear that there is a shift towards harder-to-make drugs with high-potency ingredients. So we are heavily investing in the newest high-potent capabilities and R&D service offering.”
At Famar, there’s a strategic emphasis on continuous investment in quality, technical expertise and equipment, and the sustained enrichment of its service portfolio. With this emphasis, the CDMO’s flexible structure is strengthened, affording a steady growth of drug development and production services for its 120-plus clients in 80 markets worldwide – a geographical footprint that it hopes to boost in the coming years.
“In the new Famar, we have been investing in our tangible and intangible assets, our business and the core of our force, our people.”
The company is also actively looking for the right acquisition opportunity that would allow it to increase its reach and technological offering. Doing so will further bolster its position in a future where the pressure to compete is mounting. “Today, more than ever, Famar is rapidly adapting to an ever-changing and highly demanding pharmaceutical environment, providing flexibility and innovative solutions to quickly meet the needs of its clients,” Konstantinos explains.
“In the future, the pressure to reduce the pharmaceutical industry’s costs will only increase. And CDMOs are a key element in the manufacturing and supply chain sectors of the industry. We must implement practices that significantly increase productivity and efficiency to reduce industry costs, because of the vital role we play in the production and supply of medicines to patients in need, worldwide.
“Our clients, our people, our local and international health systems and society depend on us and our steady supply of drug development and manufacturing services. And that expectation constitutes our promise, our mission and our point of excellence.”
1990s: Acquisition and integration of five sites in Greece and one in the Netherlands. Initiation of distribution activities at Avlonas, Greece.
2000s: Acquisition and integration of one site in Italy and five sites in France. Establishment of a second distribution centre at Thiva, Greece. Built a new pharmaceutical plant at Avlonas, Greece.
2010s: Acquisition of one site in Spain and one in Canada.
2020: Successful spin-off of Famar south cluster (Greece, Spain, Italy) and formation of the new Famar Group, under the ownership of York Capital Management and Elements Capital Management.