Top 10 Medical Contract Manufacturing Organisations: 2018

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Pharma IQ

We present the top 10 ranking of Contract Manufacturing Organizations in drug discovery as voted by the Pharma IQ network.

Contract Manufacturing Organisations (CMOs) hand pharmaceutical and biologic manufacturers the freedom to prioritise their own internal capacities and enhance process efficiencies.

Contract Manufacturing Organization

The trend towards outsourcing in drug discovery isn’t expected to fizzle out anytime soon. Research and Markets projected that the Global Healthcare Contract Manufacturing Outsourcing (CMO) Market will reach US$205.104 billion by 2021, with rising R&D costs behind pharmaceutical drugs driving the market.

In 2017, the biosimilar and biologics market saw vigorous investment levels. Although small molecule still stands as the dominant sector of the industry.

Read more: The future of single use solutions in biomanufacturing

Mergers and acquisitions 

Last year saw significant market consolidation as CMOs and Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) built their scale and capability. Mergers and acquisitions can complicate keeping track of the functions a CMO can fulfil and the sites it can provide access to. Especially as pharmaceutical and biologics producers often work with hundreds of external partner contacts.  International seminars and events help manufacturers stay up to date with these changes alongside the general advances in the global landscape.

More medicine manufacturers  are seeking strategic partnerships to shrink their base of contacts, while maintaining a global reach and access to technologies they require.  With this shift on the horizon, to retain market share, medical CMOs will need to prove their worth in terms of performance and capacity. 

Questions in the industry have been raised regarding the viability of the ‘one stop shop’ marketing lines emerging in the medical CMO arena.  Despite this, some industry commentators have labelled it an attractive concept nonetheless as CMOs need to keep pace with demand for new medicine categories and technologies.

Read more: Bristol-Myers to acquire Celgene for $74 billion: Is it time for the M&A biotech boom?


What to look for in a CMO

Pharmaceutical and biologics firms seek partners who will add value to the production of their medicines through a reliable supply. This is a complex decision process involving the evaluation of many variables.                                    
Ahead of the Pharma Contract Manufacturing Event, we invited the Pharma IQ community to vote for the leading CMOs in the pharmaceutical and biologics industry according to their own experiences.

Our research base is made up of participants from mainly big pharma or biotechs, SME pharma and consultants. Other entities included in this research include government bodies, medical device manufacturers and logistics firms.



Read more: Pocket Guide to Relationship Management

What criteria makes an excellent CMO? 

The rising public pressure on medicine prices and spend by pharmaceutical firms, drives the appeal of outsourcing as a way to cool costs.

However, as pharma continues to wrestle with stagnant innovation levels, despite the funding boost to R&D pipelines, cheaper running costs are no longer the primary motive for outsourcing. In fact this was considered as the fourth priority for our response base.

Just under a quarter of our base agreed that technological capability is the most important differentiator when selecting a CMO.  Access to specialized technologies also emerged as the top driver for participants in the 2017 NICE insight CDMO Outsourcing survey.


(Respondents could vote for more than one answer) 

Read more: World map: Risk forecast for 2018


Drug manufacturers should avoid slipping into the misconception that when they employ a CMO they are also outsourcing the compliance liability attached to the product. The compliance and quality of a CMO must be managed via audits and frequent visits to verify the processes and equipment being deployed.

The majority of the base noted that contract reviews would happen routinely on an annual basis.  


In a recent interview, Luiz Barberini, Sr. Operations Manager – External, Manufacturing Latin America, Bayer mentioned that to avoid any disruptions to supply manufacturers should assist CMOs with deploying risk prevention action plans.


Ending a partnership with a CMO

Lack of quality was the aspect voted most likely to lead to the end a partnership with a CMO, attracting 66% of the votes.  A contract breach and a high level of mistakes were the next two most popular options with 12% of the vote each.

Honesty and transparency are vital to a healthy relationship. Luiz Barberini noted: “Overall, in this kind of relationship when any kind of conflict is inevitable, you must be honest and transparent in order to retain trust. Trust must be gained, and when you have established this, the conflicts are easily managed, since both parties understand that some situations must be solved for the common benefit of the both companies.”

Work in a collaborative sense with your CMO to simplify their role rather than being stuck in the ‘they work for us; so they must do x’ mindset.

Who made the cut: Pharma IQ's top 10 CMOs

  1.       Patheon

  2.        Catalent

  3.        Lonza

  4.        Boehringer Ingelheim

  5.        PCI

  6.        Vetter

  7.        Almac

  8.        Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories

  9.        Famar

  10.        Recipharm

Rising stars:

Congratulations to those who ranked in the Top 10 this year. 

Take a look at the Top 10 Clinical Research Organisations in the Pharma and Biotech Industry