Contract Manufacturing

Changing Cupid's Contract

Pharma CMOs are sharpening their arrows and getting noticed

By Karen Langhauser, Chief Content Director

cupidAs we wade through the pink tides of Valentine’s Day propaganda that start washing over the stores promptly after the Christmas goods are pulled from the shelves, it’s impossible to not notice Cupid. The cherubic, chubby, winged infant is front and center — ready to brandish his bow and arrow on unsuspecting passersby.

But Cupid was not always the star of the show. Before he became a Hallmark celeb, Cupid was the Greek god, Eros, a handsome immortal. As time went on, he packed on the pounds, managed to reverse-age himself back into an infant, and acquired his iconic bow and arrow. However, both Eros and Cupid were largely minor characters in myths. With his golden arrows, Cupid’s role was to set the plot in motion and then fade into the background. Even in art, Cupid was commonly a detail, rather than the main focus.

Contract manufacturers can most likely relate to being the silent catalyst, and not the object of desire. Traditionally, CMOs were the behind-the-scenes workhorses, providing capacity reservoirs for pharma companies to tap as needed. While their involvement was pivotal at the start of the relationship, they were rarely acknowledged as pharma companies walked down the flower-petalled aisle of marketing success.

As we know, relationships tend to change. Savvy CMOs have started positioning themselves to compete for their spot in an increasingly complex supply chain. For this month’s cover story, we tracked down four CMOs who are devising creative — and even unconventional — solutions to pharma customers’ problems.

iBio CDMO has broken down political barriers to partner with a Chinese biotech with the goal of bringing economical, plant-derived rituximab to China. Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing has developed a first-of-its-kind process for flexible, isolator-based sterile manufacturing. ADC BIO has solved a major market challenge by using patented technology to create a more integrated manufacturing approach for oncology’s newest star. Porton Pharma has formed a partnership that promises new and improved manufacturing routes for APIs.

And these are just a sampling of CMOs who are redefining and reclaiming the role of the contract manufacturer in the pharmaceutical industry.

While unpacking Cupid’s origins is complicated, most sources agree that he simply became associated with Valentine’s Day because he was the obvious choice. Valentine’s Day cards began gaining popularity during the late 1800s, and by the time Hallmark Cards of Kansas City began mass producing the cards in 1913, Cupid was already the holiday’s icon.

The passion of next-generation CMOs is nothing short of inspiring. Relentless in their quest for innovation, they have propelled themselves into the foreground, firmly establishing their place in the pharma industry’s hearts.