The Business Year

Efrén Ocampo

MEXICO - Health & Education

Efrén Ocampo

CEO, Neolpharma

Bio

Efrén Ocampo, CEO of Neolpharma Group, has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in Latin, Central and North America. He has overseen the construction of over eight manufacturing facilities including APIs, parenteral, injectable, and solids, among other pharmaceutical forms. Ocampo continues to invest in R&D and state-of-the-art equipment to offer quality products and improve global health.

By continuously investing in new facilities and R&D, Neolpharma is able to meet its goal of providing access to high-quality, affordable therapies to undeserved communities.

What areas of opportunity did you identify in the Mexican market that motivated you to open this business?

Our goal has always been to provide access to high-quality, affordable therapies to undeserved communities. In order to achieve that goal, we would need to grow fast, not just in the central nervous system space, but also in other therapeutic areas such as cardio metabolic, osteo-muscular pain, and oncology. The demand for quality medicine was growing at double digits, and we need to align our supply capacities to our vision. In this sense, we invested in production lines and facilities, and as a result, we became one of the leaders in the Mexican pharmaceutical sector. When we decided to expand beyond Mexico and enter the North American Market, the best cost-effective strategy was to acquire a facility in Puerto Rico. We retained high skilled professionals and an on-going contract manufacturing organization (CMO) business. We have consolidated our capabilities and are still offering contract development and manufacturing company (CDMO) for top international companies.

What changes in logistics and production has Neolpharma undergone?

Up to before the pandemic, we had been focusing on upgrading our infrastructure, elevating our integral quality management system and adopting new technologies throughout all our value chain. Our production lines, quality control processes and constant training became one of our biggest strengths. Then came the pandemic, which put our system to the test. The strength of our supply chain, our logistics and delivery time were jeopardized, and controlling the drastic effects of shortages was a major challenge. We were able to quickly adapt to these circumstances fast enough to mitigate and not damage our production and logistics. We are now focusing on building a more resilient and sustainable organization. We invested USD55 million in an injectable facility to manufacture this kind of products in Mexico. We are also planning to expand our active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production capabilities in order to depend less on foreign suppliers.

Are you currently investing in increasing your production capacity in Mexico?

We have never stopped investing. Over the past 10 years, we have built a network of 14 companies, consolidating our core strengths to support and exceed our growth plans. For example, we have an API facility that gives us the opportunity to be vertically integrated. This gives us a huge advantage in comparison to other big pharma companies in Mexico. We also are permanently looking for strategic alliances with international companies that want to enter the Mexican market. Our country has challenges such as barriers to entry, competition, regulations, and technologies; but we have the know-how and are willing to help new and existing international companies enter the Mexican market.

What opportunities are you looking to take advantage?

There is an ongoing restructure of supply chains throughout the whole world, and we want to make the most out of it. We have a strong R&D and quality team, which alongside our production capacities, can contribute to secure supply of critical therapies. Since we are vertically integrated, with API and finished dose production capabilities, and because of our footprint in Mexico and the US, we are able to enter different markets. We have a wide variety of pharmaceutical forms, such as tablets, capsules, injectable, creams, solutions, nasal sprays, irrigation bags, etc. That versatility in production capabilities, coupled with a strong market presence, give us a competitive advantage that few other companies in Latin America have. We are interested in joining global efforts in securing the pharma supply chain.

What are your goals for 2022?

We are always trying to be one step ahead. For example, when demand is low, we increase supply. For 2022, we will be ready to develop and produce in our state-of-the-art injectable facility for the most regulated markets. We are months away of exporting this kind of products to Central and South America and the US.

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