Life Sciences

Highlights from CPHI North America 2024

The writer takes a look back at various interviews held during CPHI North America in Philadelphia.

Sitting at the Life Sciences Knowledge Hub booth, located next to a mercifully-placed water cooler at the back of the show floor, it’s easy to observe the overall flow of traffic among CPHI North America’s attendees. Life science professionals stroll across shaggy blue carpeting rolled across wide, spacious aisles, idly perusing the various booths on display. While the hum of distant chatter makes itself constantly known, nothing is so loud as to prevent one from making out the conversations of nearby exhibitors either pitching themselves to prospective clients or reminiscing with battle-tested colleagues – should they so desire.

Hosted in the Philadelphia Convention Center from 7-9 May, CPHI North America does not operate at the same scale as its overseas counterparts. This difference in scope is inescapable, but not unwelcome. While many conventions lean into a frenetic tempo, CPHI NA’s less hectic environment invites attendees to attend to matters at a comparatively peaceful, measured pace. Those in attendance can engage in longer, more nuanced conversations, without the stress of constant meetings resulting in the sacrifice of attention to detail.

LSKH hosted various discussions of this nature with company representatives in attention. This round-up will highlight several of these conversations with an emphasis on why these companies attended CPHI NA, the messages they wanted to get across and their takes on the past, present and future of pharma.


In his interview with LSKH, Tim Quinn, Vice-President and General Manager Pharmaceuticals at Actylis, a supplier and manufacturer of raw materials and performance ingredients, highlighted the company’s efforts to diversify its materials offerings. Notably, the company has acquired seven companies over the past four years in order to embrace a hybrid model that highlights both materials distribution and materials manufacturing. Quinn wants the company to make sure it can provide “any component that goes into an API product” and do so quickly.

“I think the area of growth that we’re going to see in the next five years is being able to supply the products with speed,” said Quinn. “Nobody wants products sitting in inventory. Cash is king right now due to high interest rates; for a lot of our customers, raising money is much more difficult. How we can help our customers out is to bring products to them with speed…this is an area where we are going to focus on in the future.”

In a similar vein, Quinn also touched on the company’s strategy in the context of the broader pharma supply chain. Suppliers like Actylis had a front row seat to the supply chain strain brought about by Covid-19, a situation that catalysed shifts in acquisition strategies among many companies. For Actylis, the pandemic reinforced a desire to prioritise inventory of key products that may face shortages in the near future.

“We look at products where we believe that there are key shortages that will come up in the market – we’ve seen a lot of these over the years, especially going through the pandemic,” said Quinn. “The pharmaceutical grade solvents, the low endotoxin, sucrose, many products that we have as part of our portfolio today, were the ones that had exceedingly rare inventory opportunities during the Covid years. Thus, we were able to expand into many different products in biopharma excipients and APIs.”


Dr. Mimoun Ayoub is Senior Vice-President, Global Head Sales and Key Account Management at CordenPharma, a CDMO specialising in six key areas: peptides, injectables, oligonucleotides, lipids and both highly-potent and non-high-potent small molecules. While Ayoub was firm in saying that the company is focused on growing in all six areas, peptides were a focus of the conversation because market forces necessitate that the company expands in that market.

“There is this high demand in GLP-1 agonists on the market and this is actually what is driving the peptide market growth,” said Ayoub. “Yesterday was lipids, today is peptides. CordenPharma follows the growth and where the patients need us most.”

According to Ayoub, because GLP-1’s requires a significant degree of process engineering, the importance of that facet outweighs the importance of process chemistry. For companies that can provide both, however, it presents an opportunity, one which Ayoub feels CordenPharma is in a unique position to grasp.

“We have a streamlined supply chain with regard to solvents supply, waste treatment and raw material supply for such large peptide manufacturing,” said Ayoub. “I would also like to stress the point that CordenPharma has not only expanded its large scale capacity in peptide manufacturing, but have also invested substantially in the small and medium scale, both at Colorado and Frankfurt. So it’s very important that we don’t have the image of just the large scale peptide manufacturer, we do everything in GMP from grams to metric tons.”

Procos SpA

Procos is a pharmaceutical company specialising in the development, scale-up and production of APIs. Two company representatives – Alicia Xaka, Associate Director of Business Development, and Dave Short, Senior Business Manager – joined LSKH to highlight an ongoing facility expansion designed to increase the company’s overall manufacturing capacity.

“Since 2018, when our high-potency manufacturing unit was installed and approved, progress has had a really huge push in the high potency area for small molecule and also supporting payload and linker for the ADC market,” said Xaka. “However, this expansion will bring us back to what progress is traditionally known for, which is the non-high-potent capability, and this facility will house small scale reactors that we can increase. We’re anticipating some push and increased requirements from our partners in the clinical trial for phase one and phase two. We want to remind our business partners that we are there for the non-high-potent capabilities as well.”

“The expansion is, as Alicia mentioned, giving us an initial push in increased capacity for small scale, normal potency or non-high-potent compounds, but it’s also giving us the ability to expand in 2026 and beyond,” added Short. “We’re only building out a small portion of the building initially, leaving room for a lot of potential further expansion, and we’re looking to cues from our customers and the industries as to how we plan to build that out. It may mean additional small scale, non-high-potency capacity or it may mean additional high potency lines, but we’re very much looking forward to the future and continued growth and expansion with our customers in the industry.”

“We’re also looking forward to CPHI Worldwide – it’s going to be in Milan this year, which is very near our facility and we’re expecting to host quite a number of potential customers and existing customers for visits,” said Xaka. “Anybody that’s interested in coming as part of CPHI worldwide, we’d be happy to host them.”

Torbay Pharmaceuticals

Emma Rooth is the CEO of Torbay Pharmaceuticals, a manufacturer of terminally sterilised injectables that largely operates in the generic medicines market. While based in the UK, Torbay made a point to attend CPHI NA as it prepares to expand its presence in the US market as a contract manufacturer. Interestingly, this is occurring as other companies are seeking to leave generics altogether according to Rooth.

“What we’re seeing at the moment is that there is a shift where some generic manufacturers are moving up the value chain to focus on higher value medicines,” said Rooth. “However, the medicines that we manufacture are essential medicines, they’re medicines that will always be needed and will always be used in particular in a hospital setting.”

As it concerns the broader state of the generics market, Rooth said it is typically difficult to operate in due to low prices and its overall competitiveness. In addition, she noted that one current concern was the state of the global supply chain, which has led to difficulties sourcing products when needed. However, when asked how Torbay was navigating that difficulty, she was quick to outline their action plan.

“We’re working really closely with all our partners to identify where the challenges are and what we can do to resolve some of those issues,” said Rooth. “We worked very hard in terms of our supply chain planning to make sure that we’re really clear to our supply partners what we need and when we need it.

“I like to think that we would be able to overcome some of the supply issues,” she added. “If you look at the supply issues in terms of shortages within the US market in particular, I think in 2022 injectables accounted for 48% of the shortages within the market, which is absolutely huge. So this requires an effort for us to all work together to actually understand what’s needed and when it’s needed.”


When Mike Riley, CEO of Veranova, a CDMO specialising in APIs, was asked what key trends in the broader biopharma market that his company was taking note of, he stated that the rise of targeted therapies was of particular interest.

According to Riley, the general design of targeted therapies typically necessitates the handling of more potent products. This, in turn, allows companies like Veranova, which have experience in areas like antibody drug conjugates and similar modalities, to potentially capitalise on the opportunity. However, Riley did caution that entering this market would necessitate building out a foundation that can deliver in a timely manner.

“I think another area that we’re seeing companies’ putting a high premium on is speed through the development process,” said Riley. “A lot of products that are more personalised therapies are focused on targeted patient populations. What that can mean in practice is that they can have times in their development process where they’re looking to rapidly accelerate their clinical development timelines, which means for CDMOs that we need to be very fast, we need to be flexible, never compromising quality, but we have to be able to go fast if our customers need that.”

For Riley, this is one of many aspects of the biopharma market that is trending toward increasing complexity. If this bears out and the market rewards companies that can thrive in these situations, he feels that it will bode well for Veranova.

“What we’re seeing is that pharmaceutical pipelines are becoming increasingly complex. I think helping companies manage that complexity and that diversity of modalities, it’s in their pipeline, will position companies like Veranova very well to be able to provide solutions to those companies as they manage that complexity,” said Riley. “I think you will also see the individual molecules in the pipeline are themselves becoming more complex and companies that have experience managing these complex molecules are going to be very well-positioned to really grow our business and better serve our customers.”

Quotient Sciences

Lastly, while LSKH was not able to interview representatives from Quotient Sciences, a pharmaceutical CDMO and CRO, on-camera during the event, the publication did get a chance to chat with them and get their thoughts on the convention and the future of their company. A representative offered the following thoughts for LSKH readers.

“At CPHI NA, we enjoyed reconnecting with customers, discussing current projects and vision for further expansion, including how we are improving the delivery of Translational Pharmaceutics® in the US this year. This builds on existing capabilities and gives greater flexibility for US-based clients. We’re also exploring opportunities in new regions and modalities to extend the reach and impact of our ground-breaking platform. Our goal is to redefine the drug development landscape by offering a comprehensive and innovative solution that streamlines processes, reduces timelines and ultimately brings life-saving treatments to patients faster.

“Some of our key goals in 2024 are to build our presence as a premium provider of drug substance and drug product development, and manufacturing services. Rather than make assumptions about the best technology or solution for our customers, we seek to discover the optimal path forward through in-house research and collaboration with technology providers and our network of partners. Events like CPHI North America help us maintain our position as an industry thought leader.”