Avista Pharma Solutions, Inc. (Avista
Pharma) is a new name, but it has a decade-long track record in the CDMO market
via three strategic acquisitions and one of the most-experienced leadership
teams in the industry. At the helm is CEO Patrick Walsh, whose pharma career
spans 35 years, and who is a recognized entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical industry.
His recent accomplishments include leading the resurgence of AAIPharma
Services, which resulted in a strategic sale of the company in 2013, and he has
served as a Board of Director and advisor to numerous leading healthcare and private
equity organizations. In addition to his role at Avista Pharma, he is on the
Board of Directors of Brammer Bio, a new cell and gene therapy CDMO that also
has an aggressive growth strategy. Drug Development & Delivery recently
spoke with Mr. Walsh about Avista Pharma’s range of capabilities and what is
driving growth for his company in this dynamic industry.
Q: Can you describe
the current status of the contract services industry?
A: The industry is
experiencing unprecedented growth and market expansion, but it is still highly
fragmented in terms of the number of CDMOs in the industry with significant
market share. In addition, pharma clients are seeking to consolidate vendors
and concentrate their outsourcing spend on contract organizations with
technical depth, responsiveness, significant expertise, and a breadth of service
offerings. Avista Pharma was created with these specific attributes in mind,
and our clients have stated that these are among the most important attributes
for contract service providers in this dynamic and growing market.
Q: Where does Avista
Pharma Solutions see its biggest impact being made in this dynamic environment?
A: Avista Pharma is a
relatively new name to the industry, but it was formed by combining three businesses
with strong technical and scientific leadership, as well as facilities offering
significant expansion possibilities. Currently, there are few companies who
have the technical depth, facility capabilities, and experienced leadership necessary
to quickly advance early phase programs and respond to clients’ concentrated
Q: Avista Pharma
Solutions consists of several facilities across the United States. Can you
describe your investments in these operations?
A: Avista Pharma is an
organization with strong support from our private-equity partner, Ampersand
Capital, which has allowed us to make significant investments in all of our locations
across the United States. Avista Pharma encompasses over 200,000 sq ft of laboratory
and manufacturing assets, with further expansion planned.
Our Massachusetts-based operation
recently completed a major facility expansion and offers microbiology service offerings
on par with any company in our competitive peer group. We also offer sample
courier service around the North East biotech corridor and on-site expertise
for environmental monitoring services.
The expansion of our North Carolina
and Colorado operations reflects significant investments in expanding the scale
and scope of our API manufacturing, formulation, analytical, and drug product
manufacturing operations. We see the animal health market as another high growth
area, with Avista Pharma already recognized as a preferred partner in this high
growth sector. We currently do business with a majority of the global animal
health companies in the industry.
Q: What do you believe
are some of the biggest challenges in the contract services industry?
A: There are hundreds of
contract service providers in our industry, yet few provide the consistent
quality, technical depth, and responsiveness to deliver perfectly on every
client project. In addition, many CDMOs do not possess the necessary level of
technical depth beyond the senior leadership level, and project management is
underserved and understaffed. There is a tremendous desire by pharmaceutical
companies to consolidate external contract providers and to create meaningful
alliances with a select number of CDMO partners who can cover the majority of
their requirements. We view this industry trend as extremely favorable to Avista
Pharma, and we have invested millions of dollars in IT, quality management
systems, and the latest analytical equipment to meet these requirements.
Avista Pharma’s scientific and
technical expertise goes deep into the organization, allowing clients to feel
comfortable with projects at any stage of development. This ensures a capable, trained
project champion who oversees successful project outcomes.
Q: Are there
particular services that distinguish Avista Pharma Solutions?
A: We like to take on
difficult assignments, complex chemistry, and projects in which clients and
clinical programs are counting on a successful outcome. Avista Pharma also
distinguishes itself by providing chemistry, formulation development, API, and
first-in-human clinical manufacturing from a
single site at our Colorado facility. In addition, our Durham site is
recognized around the globe for helping companies in the animal health market
screen compounds and make informed product development decisions with our novel
Q: What are the next
steps for Avista Pharma Solutions?
A: We see alignment of
our service offerings with our clients’ challenging projects, and our business
will continue to be rewarded for delivering projects on time every time. Avista
Pharma will continue to explore additional acquisitions that add new
capabilities to our pharma or animal health core platform of services.
In 2017, we anticipate completion of a
major facility expansion of our Longmont, CO, CMC Center of Excellence. We have
invested in three new 50-gallon API reactors, four new drug product
manufacturing suites (offering capsule, tablet, and formulated capsule manufacturing
options), and material characterization as well as formulation, analytical, and
Our 92,000-sq ft Durham facility
recently expanded capabilities in extractables/leachables, impurity ID, fate
and purge, drug product analytical testing, stability storage, and API manufacturing.
We expect the next few years to bring
unprecedented growth in our industry and Avista Pharma to continue to be a key partner
in the growth of our clients’ clinical and commercial product portfolios.
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