BIOCAD does its sums for growth

Russian biotech company BIOCAD plans to leverage competitive advantages to take 5% of the European medicines market


BIOCAD claims to be Russia’s leading innovative biotechnology company, and has bold plans for growth built on confidence in its competitive advantages.

“BIOCAD is a little different to other biotech companies,” says Oleg Pavlovsky, its Vice-president for Marketing and Sales. Russia is famous for its brilliant mathematicians and BIOCAD has a number of them among its 1,300 employees, giving it significant advantages in its use of IT platforms and AI, he says.

Being a fully integrated company creates another competitive advantage via its wide range of in-house competencies. BIOCAD is one of the few full-cycle drug development and manufacturing companies, running everything from new molecule discovery and genetic engineering to large-scale commercial production and marketing support.

BIOCAD has registered products in almost 50 countries and is “growing like crazy”, says Mr Pavlovsky. Founded in 2001, it has established a global network of subsidiaries in Brazil, China, India, Vietnam, and the USA. Its medicines are dedicated to treat complex health conditions such as cancer, HIV and hepatitis C infections, multiple sclerosis and other disorders.

The company has large-scale manufacturing facilities for monoclonal antibodies, as well as a subdivision that develops and manufactures small molecule generics. It became the first company in Russia to develop and launch biosimilar monoclonal antibodies rituximab, trastuzumab, and bevacizumab, and it now has over 70% market share for these products in Russia. Although the company has recently switched focus and is no longer carrying out R&D in biosimilars, it continues to market its existing products. Its R&D now focuses on launching new original molecules.

Mr Pavlovsky believes there is no obstacle to his company’s growth, with its current 10-year plan including adding 5% or more of the European pharmaceutical market to its customer portfolio. The company is currently tackling the regulatory hurdles necessary to launch products in Europe, and is looking to move some of its operations into the EU.

Finland is a possible location for BIOCAD’s European operations, which would be convenient for a company based in St Petersburg. But the Finnish government and people are also keen to work with the company, says Mr Pavlovsky.

BIOCAD has made preparations to launch brands in the US, mostly in the areas of biologics and neurology, although this is not yet included in its current 5-10 year plan.

While the biotech market is currently booming, it could resemble a “bloody ocean” in 10 years’ time, predicts Mr Pavlovsky, as over-stretched companies go to the wall. These companies may be based in Europe and the US, but also in China and emerging countries.

The advantage will be with those companies that are faster and smarter. “Right now, a lot of companies are focused on high-price, but small-volume markets. We look broader, are more focused on development and manufacturing, and that allows us to decrease the price and increase the quantity of patients.”

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