IBSA and Altergon: a partnership that aims for excellence13 April 2023
Twenty years of collaboration, sharing of values, scientific and technological partnership that has always aimed for excellence: this is the story linking IBSA to Altergon, a company based in Morra De Sanctis, in the province of Avellino (Italy), specialised in the biotechnological production of ultrapure hyaluronic acid and pharmaceutical products such as medicated plasters and transdermal patches, ODF (orodispersible films) and pre-filled sterile syringes. A story born from the meeting of two visions – that of Arturo Licenziati, President and CEO of IBSA, and that of Salvatore Cincotti, Founder and CEO of Altergon – guided by the continuous research and improvement of existing technologies, in order to increase the quality and safety of the therapeutic solutions offered to patients.
And this is a story that still has a long way to go: IBSA and Altergon are indeed entering into one further development stage of their collaboration, on the one hand reinforcing the investments in the production of hyaluronic acid – with the aim of doubling it – and, on the other, completing the process of technology transfer of two products in two different departments, expanding their production potential.
A COMMON VISION AND PATH
Competence, courage, perseverance, passion, combined with ethics, reliability and flexibility: these are the values and principles that unite two realities that have shared – and continue to share – a wide-ranging business project.
“Twenty years ago, Dr. Licenziati and I decided to take on a challenge and bet together on innovation in the biotech, diagnostic and pharmaceutical sectors, investing in the design of new technologies and the development of top-level scientific know-how in an area with great potential”, stated Salvatore Cincotti, CEO of Altergon. “We began as a start-up, launching a virtuous circle of synergies and collaborations with leading university and R&D centres within the Italian landscape, bringing together the public and private worlds. This led us to grow and make a huge progress in the patenting of innovative biotechnological processes and products, which today represent excellence at global level. We continue our journey alongside IBSA to sow an innovation that will flourish in the near future, leaving a legacy for the next generations of researchers and scientists”.
Over the past two decades, Altergon has become a critical strategic partner for IBSA, in particular due to the value of its activity as a research and innovation centre, leader in the production of ultrapure hyaluronic acid. A key part of Altergon’s business continues to be based on its close partnerships with Italian scientific institutes – such as the National Research Council (CNR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche) and the Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials (IPCB, Istituto per i Polimeri, Compositi e Biomateriali) – and university centres of excellence, with which original research projects are developed, then brought to an industrial scale to obtain patent ownership.
A lot of progress has been made since the laying of the first stone in 2003, and Altergon has now reached a significant size, having invested more than € 120 million over the years (with a turnover that will soon reach the figure of € 80 million) and counting on about 300 collaborators – highly specialised, with an average age of 36 – who work on a campus of about six hectares located in Irpinia, in Southern Italy, made up of 6 production buildings and 3 R&D laboratories. IBSA has contributed meaningfully to this journey, acquiring multi-year supply contracts right from the start of this entrepreneurial challenge.
HYALURONIC ACID, AN AREA OF INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT
The collaboration between IBSA and Altergon includes, among its success stories, the development of a particular technology, symbol of the partnership with a university of excellence in the Campania region: the Luigi Vanvitelli University of Naples. It’s the research, development and fine-tuning of a new formulation of ultrapure hyaluronic acid of biofermentative origin for injectable use (in pre-filled syringes), obtained through a thermal processing that allows to obtain hybrid complexes of high and low molecular weight. This type of product has shown excellent quality and efficacy performance, so much so that it has been included by industry experts among the top 3 of the best products at global level.
The products based on this technology can be used in several therapeutic areas – for example, for intra-articular, intraocular and intravesical application – and, in particular, an unprecedented result has been achieved in the orthopaedic field: for the first time, hyaluronic acid has been combined with chondroitin sodium in a formulation for intra-articular infiltrations suitable for the treatment of osteoarthritis, one of the most widespread conditions, and today among the main causes of disabling pain in the population, with a constantly growing incidence trend.
Investments for the further development and production of hyaluronic acid will be stepped up in 2023: a doubling of raw material production has been planned, to then quadruple production capacity, within 24 months, in a biotechnological plant that will be able to reach 400-500 kilos of product per year.
Furthermore, IBSA and Altergon are completing the process of technology transfer of two different products: the first concerns the production of gauzes containing biofermentative hyaluronic acid, indicated for the treatment of burns and exposed wounds, the production of which will now be performed within Altergon, in a sterile biotech plant of approximately 1,000 m2, the result of an investment of € 6 million and 3 years of work. The second regards the production of a therapeutic solution in the form of a medicated plaster in an innovative hydrogel matrix, based on betamethasone 0.1% together with hyaluronic acid for the treatment of skin conditions of inflammatory origin, such as eczema and psoriasis.