Continuing on the Acquisition Trail: Building Out a World-Class, Customer-Oriented CDMO

Pharmaceutical companies need contract development and manufacturing partners that can act as extensions of their businesses, reliably providing on-time and in-full delivery of end-to-end, customized support from discovery through commercialization. Avara Pharmaceutical Services was founded in 2015 to fill this gap in the market. Through ongoing acquisitions of world-class facilities from leading pharmaceutical companies, Avara continues to expand its global footprint and capabilities to better serve its customers.

Greater Efficiency and Productivity are Imperative

With public perception at an all-time low and value-based pricing a critical concern for payers and patients, it is imperative that the pharmaceutical industry adopts new business models that eliminate financial and economic waste.

Estimates for spending on prescription drugs in the United States in 2017 range between $324 and $506 billion, taking rebates into account.1 This number is expected to increase at a faster pace than other types of healthcare spending. Meanwhile, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development estimated in 2016 that the cost of developing a new drug is nearly $2.6 billion — an annual increase of 8.5% over the cost estimated in 2013.2

The status quo is no longer acceptable. Productivity and efficiency in drug development and manufacturing — and across the supply chain — must be achieved. This will require not merely optimization but also reinvention of business practices and partnerships, as well as the elimination of overcapacity. Process and product quality must be improved, the length of the supply chain shortened and the time it takes to get drugs to market reduced — all while assuring security and regulatory compliance. Doing so will ensure that all activities provide value: all members of the supply chain can receive fair returns while patients receive life-saving medicines at fair prices.

Effective CDMO Partners are Crucial

The right CDMOs can help drive efficiency and productivity in the pharmaceutical supply chain by improving innovator companies’ cost structures, providing security of supply, enhancing regulatory compliance and building long-term confidence. These CDMOs recognize the need for change, understand the driving forces and actively work to facilitate movement toward more effective business models.

Tech-savvy CDMOs that establish productive strategic partnerships with their customers serve as extensions of their customers’ businesses and become integral to their operations. They meet milestones and the quality, quantity and price expectations of the customer by thoroughly understanding the project and its complexity. Such CDMOs offer tailored contractual agreements and flexibility in terms of both capabilities and capacity
to meet unexpected needs, from technical problems to changing market demand. They also have excellent global supply chain management capabilities, with demonstrated success on the international level under both normal and adverse conditions.

Avara’s extensive network of operations serving the global biopharmaceutical market has been carefully constructed through strategic acquisition of state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities from leading pharmaceutical companies.

Avara’s Promise: Delivering on Commitments

Avara’s CDMO capabilities reflect both reliability and flexibility for customers. The experience of our leadership team and the culture we instill across the company ensure that customer priorities are always in focus. Avara was established specifically to focus on clients and provide an exceptional outsourcing experience by delivering on our commitments, and the industry veterans that lead the company have experience on both sides of outsourcing. As a result, we fully understand the challenges our customers face.

Forming long-term, strategic partnerships with our customers is integral to our ability to effectively support them. With this approach, Avara not only provides security of supply, but also ensures regulatory compliance. We are committed to creating value across the entire supply chain. Our employees recognize the need for an operational approach that maximizes efficiency, productivity and quality. We are thus able to share the benefits we realize from increased volumes or improved efficiencies with our customers by offering guaranteed price positions.

The commitment of Avara to deliver on our promises was recently recognized by Life Science Leader, who selected Avara Pharmaceutical Services as a winner of the 2018 CMO Leadership Awards in the six core categories (Capabilities, Compatibility, Expertise, Quality, Reliability and Service). This industry recognition can be attributed to the members of the Avara global team, who are key to our success.

End-to-End Customer Support

Of course, delivering on scope, schedule, quality/regulatory compliance and price commitments requires attention to detail and collaboration within Avara. Our achievements on this front are demonstrated by our history of supplying U.S. and international markets and our first-class safety, health and environmental record. We bring a wealth of industry knowledge and expertise in supply chain management, process and formulation development, commercialization, product launch and technical transfer to bear on customer projects, facilitating the rapid, cost-effective development of advanced medicines.

With world-class facilities in North America and Europe, Avara’s breadth of services encompasses API, oral solid dose and liquid sterile drug product manufacturing, consumer health products and globally integrated packaging and distribution, including serialization support. We offer process and cost optimization, supported by expertise in tech transfers and compliance with global regulatory guidelines. Specialized capabilities include highly energetic chemistry and the production and handling of highly potent drug substances/products that require high containment.

As a full-service CDMO, Avara offers integrated capabilities designed to meet customers’ needs. By offering end-to-end services and forming partnerships with our customers, we help them reduce risk and simplify their supplier bases while ensuring quality and regulatory compliance within their supply networks. These activities are performed by people with extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry who recognize that everything they do impacts the health and well-being of patients.

Achieving CDMO Excellence through Acquisition

Avara’s extensive network of operations serving the global biopharmaceutical market has been carefully constructed through strategic acquisition of state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities from leading pharmaceutical companies. These all have an exceptional record of delivery — from APIs to commercialized medicines and OTC consumer health products.

At the core of each acquisition decision is the potential to improve the customer experience. Any additional capabilities incorporated into our network must enable Avara to better serve both existing and new customers. We have established a tightly integrated CDMO by uniting the operations and people at each site into a corporate culture based on common values and standards.

The necessary autonomy is retained to maintain total customer focus depending on the product and supply chain, with experienced managers empowered to align their site capabilities to meet the specific needs of their customers. The role of each Avara site is to reliably deliver product to the highest quality standards — on time and in full — while reducing costs and avoiding supply chain issues.

Avara’s Acquisition Trail

Avara Pharmaceutical Services is poised for further growth and prepared for change. We have a growth strategy and a plan for flexibility in response to market and customer demands, which are supported by our people, processes and systems. We are committed to expanding our global network to ensure ever-improved efficiency, productivity and reliability for our customers. We continue to expand our portfolio with a focus on key regions around the world, including emerging markets, and services that can add to or complement our existing offerings.

Avara has grown from its initial start with headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut and one secondary manufacturing and packaging facility in Arecibo, Puerto Rico to a company soon to have 10 sites, including two additional sites each in Canada and the U.S. and one each in England, Ireland, Italy and France.

We made our first entry into the Canadian market with our most recent acquisition from Novartis (May 2018), which included Canada’s largest sterile manufacturing facility for injectable medicines and the adjacent Sandoz Development Center. This acquisition followed the purchase of Pfizer’s Liscate, Italy facility (August 2017), bringing capacity for the liquid and lyophilized fill-finish of sterile injectable products.

Avara has also recently expanded its capabilities in solid dosage form manufacturing, packaging and distribution with the acquisition of AstraZeneca’s plant in Reims, France (October 2017) and GlaxoSmithKline’s facility in Aiken, South Carolina (April 2018). We now offer customers solid dose drug product manufacturing services, including granulation, coating, blending, encapsulation, compression and drying of tablets and capsules, in both the U.S. and Europe.

Further Growth for Greater Customer Service

At Avara, we want to help our customers succeed by accelerating the delivery of drugs to the marketplace while facilitating the changes that are essential for the future of the industry. We recognize that true experience only comes with time and develops with a desire to not only do more, but to do it better, even when faced with challenges. For CDMOs, this means that continuous improvement and planned, strategic growth are both essential. The continued acquisition of world-class facilities from leading pharmaceutical companies is enabling Avara to widen our global footprint, offer a broad combination of complementary capabilities that are in high demand and provide ever more exceptional customer service.

We will continue to expand our portfolio, emphasizing the maximization of productivity and the minimization of unexpected issues, with a total focus on serving our customers. To ensure that we continue to meet the growing demands of the industry, Avara is also committed to expanding our global development and manufacturing expertise into the area of biopharmaceutical drug development and manufacturing.

As we move along the acquisition trail, the customer experience will remain our central focus. Additional capabilities will be added only if they enable us to better serve new and existing customers, and every decision will have our customers’ and our experienced employees’ best interests in mind.


  1.  “A Look at Drug Spending in the U.S.: Estimates and projections from various stakeholders.” The Pew Charitable Trusts, 27 Feb. 2018. Web.
  2. Joseph A. DiMasi et al. “Innovation in the pharmaceutical industry: New estimates of R&D costs,” Journal of Health Economics, 47:20–33 (2016).

Nice Insight

Nice Insight, established in 2010, is the research division of That’s Nice, A Science Agency, providing data and analysis from proprietary annual surveys, custom primary qualitative and quantitative research as well as extensive secondary research. Current annual surveys include The Nice Insight Contract Development & Manufacturing (CDMO/CMO), Survey The Nice Insight Contract Research - Preclinical and Clinical (CRO) Survey, The Nice Insight Pharmaceutical Equipment Survey, and The Nice Insight Pharmaceutical Excipients Survey.