A CEO’s Perspective: Positioning a CDMO for Significant Growth

Avid Bioservices has reached a critical juncture and is poised for significant growth. New President and CEO Nicholas Green is excited to work with Avid’s board of directors, management team, and employees to take the company to the next level.

Reaching Critical Mass

To be truly successful, contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) must build a certain critical mass of business. That critical juncture is reached when a strong culture and effective quality systems are ingrained in day-to-day operations, the right engineering solutions have been implemented, and a skilled management group has been installed and operates cohesively. Certain fundamental aspects of the business culture are also essential: integrity, transparency, flexibility, and customer intimacy.

Avid Bioservices meets these requirements and is ready to advance to the next level. The company has manufactured commercial biologics since 2005, has more than 27 years of expertise in mammalian cell culture development and manufacturing of complex biologics, and has produced more than 150 commercial batches of drug substances. 

As importantly, Avid is steered by a board of directors with extensive experience on both sides of the contract service/customer relationship. These board members are actively involved and constantly challenging Avid’s leadership to perform at the highest level.

Avid’s recently appointed highly talented business development team, which includes the chief commercial officer and two senior business development directors, has a proven track record of success in the CDMO field. In the short period since their appointments, this team has already generated greater customer engagement, providing significant support for Avid’s efforts to drive meaningful business and revenue growth.

In recent months, the company signed two new co-marketing agreements, meaningfully expanding Avid’s ability to support clients with integrated sequencing through final product services. In collaboration with Aragen, Avid is able to offer cell line development expertise built into the company’s upstream and downstream process development and analytical services. Avid’s agreement with Argonaut Manufacturing Services provides our clients with drug substance manufacturing and parenteral fill-finish services — accessible within an hour’s drive of our drug substance development and manufacturing facilities.

Global Dynamics Leading to Growth Opportunities

Achieving that critical mass puts Avid in a unique and exciting position, particularly given the unique market dynamics that have been created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of the current situation, we anticipate that the recent trend toward globalization will see clients’ eyes refocusing on domestic supply. The previous 20 years witnessed a rush to Asia to access low-cost manufacturing.  However, that approach is now being seen as too expensive with respect to supply chain security and, in many cases, safety and quality. 

As a result, pharma companies are once again recognizing the value offered by Western manufacturers, creating significant opportunity for CDMOs like Avid to expand pipelines and grow revenues. The United States remains the most important pharmaceutical market in the world, and regardless of which political party is in power following the November 2020 elections, we expect the drive to bring manufacturing back to the United States will continue. 

Continued restrictions on travel have also impacted the access of pharmaceutical companies to CDMOs. With our advantageous location in California near many innovative biopharmaceutical companies, Avid is ideally positioned to support U.S.-based customers. We also anticipate the demand for biologic CDMO services will increase due to activities related to the development of COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines, combined with the continued advancement of other biologic candidates. 

The COVID-19 pandemic could also have a lasting impact on the regulatory approval process. The rapid pace at which vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 have progressed through preclinical and clinical development has been astounding. This experience will hopefully be used to streamline the regulatory approval process for all new drugs and reduce the time to get new medicines to patients. The industry would benefit tremendously from the increased speed-to-market, which could significantly improve business models for innovators and outsourcing partners alike.

With its origins as a drug development company, Avid has a great deal of insight into the consumer thought process, allowing us to approach client problems and pain points with a great deal of empathy and knowledge.

Effective Partnerships are Crucial

With its origins as a drug development company, Avid has a great deal of insight into the consumer thought process, allowing us to approach client problems and pain points with a great deal of empathy and knowledge. This type of insight is invaluable in forming true partnerships between CDMOs and customer organizations, enabling both to work together smoothly and efficiently.

Indeed, effective partnerships are crucial to achieving growth for CDMOs. Integrity, transparency, and a commitment to performance are the foundation that — when combined with intellectual horsepower to solve problems and the ability to respond rapidly and openly when issues arise — leads to success. The key is to avoid placing blame and to focus on finding solutions. 

Avid Bioservices is that type of strategic partner for our clients. Our commitment to building strong customer relationships was recently recognized when Avid was awarded 2020 Contract Manufacturing Organization (CMO) Leadership Awards for Capabilities, Reliability, and Compatibility by Life Science Leader. Avid was also named a 2020 CMO Leadership Award Champion in the categories of Expertise and Service.  

Taking the Next Steps

The next several years will be exciting for biopharmaceutical CDMOs, such as Avid Bioservices, that have available existing capacity, room to expand, expertise, a quality culture, a track record of regulatory compliance, and commitment to transparency and true collaboration. Avid is not just interested in short-term opportunities; we are building long-term sustainability. We will also continue to forge strategic partnerships with industry leaders that offer complementary services. 

In 5–10 years, Avid should be significantly larger than it is today, and if there proves to be a move towards localization, it would not be unreasonable to expect a broader global footprint that would allow Avid to deliver customer solutions on other continents. As one of the most experienced CDMOs when it comes to commercial manufacturing and a regulatory track record clients know they can rely on, we also hope to increase the number of late-phase and commercial projects. 

Our goal is to be perceived by drug companies as one of the top CDMOs that comes to mind when they are looking for mammalian development and manufacturing services. The company is poised to achieve that goal, with a strong reputation, a robust service offering, and growth potential. 


Nicholas Green

Nick currently serves as President & CEO of Avid Bioservices and previously served in senior executive roles for several contract manufacturing organizations and life sciences companies, including President & CEO of Therapure Biopharma and Evolve Biologics, Managing Director of Nipa Laboratories Ltd, Head of the Life Sciences Division of Clariant International Ltd, President and CEO of Rhodia Pharma Solutions and President of Codexis Pharma Division. Up until recently Nick was also a Board Member at Induce Biologics Inc and Redrock Regeneration. Nick holds a BSc (Hons) in chemistry from Queen Mary University of London and an MBA from the University of Huddersfield in the UK.