A year after it published its five-year strategy: Vision 2010 - Building on Strengths - DSM's commitment is showing no sign of slowing as is continues to invest in the expansion of its pharmaceutical production capabilities around the globe.
With its focus already heavily placed on China, DSM has also indicated it now intends to increase its profile in other emerging markets, particularly India, as well as Central & Eastern Europe, and Latin America, in order to capture growth opportunities offered by the fast development of these economies.
Recently the Dutch firm's anti-infectives division opened a new manufacturing facility in India in Toansa, Punjab, for the manufacture of Purimox - the world's only enzymatically-produced amoxicillin.
The company has developed a unique environmentally-friendly enzymatic processing technology that doesn't use any solvents or chemical processes.
According to the firm, the process also results in a very high purity products, therefore requiring less ingredients to make and as a result is cheaper.
DSM already manufactures Purimox using this process at its plant in Barcelona, Spain and the new Indian plant has effectively allowed it to double its capacity, Hans van Nistelrooij, director of business development in DSM anti-infectives, told In-PharmaTechnologist.com at the recent CPhI show in Paris.
"We built the plant to cater for the popularity of the product and we are now working on other new product lines for pharmaceutical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) using this process," said van Nistelrooij.
"Now operating with 500 staff, the new plant is built on the site of DSM's existing chemical synthesis plant in India, which is still running but will gradually be phased out."
The new Indian plant will supply Purimox to markets in the Asia-Pacific, West Asian and African markets, while the existing Spanish plant will now primarily serve the European and US markets.
Meanwhile, DSM's Pharmaceutical products division is also a hive of activity.
It's contract manufacturing Pharmaceuticals Group is about to complete an expansion of its US manufacturing plant in Greenville, North Carolina, in order to be able to carry out aseptic sterile manufacturing of biologics and small molecules especially for clinical trials.
The main focus at this plant is vial production for injectables after it expanded its liquid filling and lyophilisation capabilities last year, said company spokesperson Arie-Arthur Korpershoek.
However, an additional feature that is being built into the new Greenville aseptic facility will also provide the firm with an additional filling suite that will be able to undertake cytotoxic manufacturing for cancer drugs by the end of 2007.
"A cytotoxic production line can be extremely challenging as it is very difficult to keep the facility 100 per cent sterile and clean and so not many companies have such a capability," said Korpershoek.
"Oncology drugs can have no cross-contamination whatsoever as any mix-up can be very serious for the patient."
The Group's Biologics division has been busy, intensifying a joint venture it has in place with Crucell for the development and marketing of recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies with Crucell's PER.C6 cell line technology.
The two firms will soon be working together from a newly-built joint R&D centre containing 47,033 sq. ft. of office, lab and R&D space, located in Boston, Massachusetts, that will open in November and employ 100 staff.
"Now customers who purchase PER.C6 licenses from us will be able to get help from this centre to optimise their cell lines and help them with the scale up and production of the proteins that they need," said Korpershoek.
Meanwhile, there has no shortage of activity in DSM's Pharma Chemicals group, which specialises in biocatalysis and homocatalysis.
"We are now beginning to see the benefits of our strategic collaboration with large US firm Diversa and smaller German firm IEP," Ronald Gebhard, director of research and development, told In-PharmaTechnologist.com.
"The collaborations have given us new access to novel enzymes, so with their enzymes combined with out in-house enzymes we can now offer the widest genetic diversity to our customers."
According to Gebhard, the division is embarking on more and more projects where its access to such a range of enzymes is "making the difference."
"Forty per cent of new projects now involve a catalyst step that uses our catalysis technology, compare to only ten per cent three years ago," said Gebhard.
"We are also experiencing more follow-up and repeat business."