Cultivating Better Contract Services

WellSpring Pharmaceutical Services wants to sew the seeds of its customer success

By Steven E. Kuehn, Editor in Chief

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For the past decade and a half, WellSpring Pharmaceutical Corp. has been busy working to establish itself as a leading contract manufacturer in North America. With its primary facility located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, WellSpring provides clinical and commercial manufacturing of solids, semi-solids, and non-sterile liquids as well as packaging in a variety of presentations. According to WellSpring, since 2001, the company has developed relationships with some 50 clients of whom 90 percent represent repeat business.

WellSpring is also a well-known, over-the-counter (OTC) drug manufacturer with a host of popular direct-to-consumer products for both Canadian and U.S. markets including Emetrol, Gelusil, Micatin, Glaxal Base, WELLSKIN Glaxal Base, WELLSKIN Barriere, and K-lyte. WellSpring’s prescription drug products include Dyrenium, a diuretic and Dibenzyline, an anti-hypertension therapy which are marketed in the U.S. These medicines provide treatment for diseases affecting niche groups of people and would not exist without WellSpring. According to one industry analyst, the company has made the development, marketing and sales of new and novel prescription and OTC drug products part of its overall strategic focus.

This ability, says WellSpring, provides the opportunity to manufacture medicines for other companies while ensuring the same ethical assembly methods are employed in the generation of any product. WellSpring’s qualified employees are committed to producing the best possible medicines for consumers. Able to seamlessly handle all pharmaceutical industry issues from documentation in support of compliance to on-time delivery in global markets, WellSpring’s Ontario plant produces tablets, liquids and semi-solids in a facility that benefits from consistent investment in capital improvements.

Founded by Dr. Robert Vukovich in 1999, WellSpring purchased its Oakville FDA- and HPB-regulated manufacturing facility in 2001. The 100,000-sq.-ft. facility, the company notes, has passed several inspections since its purchase, a successful “routine” associated with repeatedly winning new contracts for its capacity and the company’s related services.

Dr. Vukovich graduated with a Ph.D. in pathology and clinical pharmacology, after which he developed products for pharmaceutical companies including Warner Lambert, Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Revlon Health Care Group. In 1983 Vukovich founded and financed Roberts Pharmaceutical Corporation. In September of 1998, Shire Pharmaceuticals acquired the highly successful Roberts Pharmaceutical Corp. from Vukovich. The next year, he founded WellSpring and reviving his opportunity to serve patients more directly.

WellSpring added three over-the-counter products to its line in 2008, providing the opportunity to treat those suffering minor everyday afflictions, as well as those select groups in need of WellSpring’s prescription medications. The acquisition of Gelusil, Micatin and Emetrol broadened both WellSpring’s reach and its staff. WellSpring expanded to a larger Sarasota location in 2009, while maintaining its Canadian development and manufacturing presence.

WellSpring’s Oakville staffing is biased toward science, which it insists underpins operational excellence associated with its CMO operations and customer satisfaction, applying rigorous standards of quality control, product testing and validation.

Ancor Capital Partners announced its acquisition of WellSpring in November 2011. At the time, Ancor teamed with Sentinel Capital and Yukon Capital to complete the transaction and offered the industry this rationale: “WellSpring represents the 15th acquisition of a healthcare company for Ancor and combines our experience in contract manufacturing, pharmaceutical sales and OTC products. WellSpring is an innovator … well positioned to accelerate its growth …”

David Mayers was named president of WellSpring Pharma Services in March. With 25 years of pharmaceutical manufacturing experience, most recently serving as vice president of manufacturing operations at Purdue Pharma, Mayers assumed immediate responsibility for all activities associated with the company’s CMO business unit overseeing Plant Operations, Business Development and Quality & Regulatory Affairs.

Wendy Shusko, president of WellSpring Pharmaceutical Corp. said, “The increasing complexity of the pharmaceutical environment, coupled with our desire to ensure continued growth and the appropriate positioning of WellSpring Pharma Services has necessitated recent decisions with this senior level role. David will provide the strategic and operational leadership to ensure the transformation and growth strategy of the Canadian operations, including creating a continuous improvement culture and optimizing organizational capability, allowing the organization to maximize growth opportunities and overall profitability.”

Over the last 11 years at Purdue, Mayers guided the expansion of the company’s facility, implementing a Lean environment and a corporate QMS supporting the Canadian facility’s global regulatory readiness while carving out a significant export and third party manufacturing presence. Known for his ability to provide strategic focus and leadership through times of growth and change, Mayers is set to bring his hard-won “operational wisdom” to bear for WellSpring and leverage experience that not only will serve WellSpring “well,” but its customers even more so. Soon thereafter Mayers was busy meeting customers and others at the Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association (DCAT) Week 2015, the famous industry event celebrating its 125th year.

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