“We fell here by chance, but the bet on Terrasa cannot be changed.”

“We fell here by chance, but the bet on Terrasa cannot be changed.”

On Sunday, April 28, Kern Pharma was born 25 years ago, after the Indukern Group bought the Roche Group's plant in Terrassa. Your father explains that after signing you said to him, “I will accept this.” . Do you remember the first day you set foot in the building? Did you see potential in it? I don't remember exactly, although I may have told him I wanted to wear it. It was a bit bold with 31 years of me and 104 people we brought in from Roche. There were two other companies in the group that had been around for many years and it was difficult to make an impact or feel like you could add your personal touch. The doors opened here. The first few times I came, I was lost. It was huge and felt like an opportunity.

That was the group's introduction to the world of human health, wasn't it? Yes and No We sell raw materials or active principles to other laboratories. It is precisely for this reason, in order to know the active principles well, that we realized that there was an opportunity for patents to expire and to create a market for generic drugs. In addition, we had the industry knowledge of Callier. I gave all the ingredients to try. We inherited a very strong, very well-coached professional team, and that's how we started. Initially we were only manufacturing for Roche and trying to build our own product range over time. We launched the first products under the Kern brand, for example, in October 2000.

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How did Kern Pharma go from being another company in the group to being the flagship company? There are several circumstances. On the one hand, during these 25 years, Kern Pharma has been fortunate to grow, in practice, for 24 out of 25 years, that is, it has achieved continuous and sustainable growth. On the other hand, there is the fact that the group decided to liquidate one of the three companies and focus its efforts in purely health areas, where, in addition, there was development and production of its own products, and not the distribution of so many products. Raw materials for third parties It has been like this for a few years in terms of results, not in terms of sales volume, but now, with Kalir and Kirin Pharma, the largest is the second.

Was the bet, at that time, on generic medicines, a market that was just beginning, essential? The Ministry issued the first generic drug law in 1997. Some companies had already started operating when we arrived, but the timing was still right. The fact that we have very good relationships with many people in the industry, because they already know us from the raw material issue, has paved the way for us and made it easier for us to get our portfolio done faster. Indukern doing this will allow us to access raw material funds faster or easier than some of our competitors. It seemed like the perfect way to enter. It was also clear to us that research and development was very expensive. In fact, we do a lot of development, a lot of product development, but not a lot of development. This is what we are doing now in OTC or self-care, sometimes using new pharmaceutical forms of known active ingredients, sometimes using new technologies.

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Raúl Díaz Varela, during the interview at the company's facilities / Nebride Aroztegui

Today they have many production lines. What is most relevant? We remain primarily a generic pharmaceutical company. 51% of our sales are general. 21% of them are already biosimilars, which is a line we are working on with a Korean company. The third line is OTC, and then we have the ethical line and third-party manufacturing.

How many products do they sell? How many units leave the factory in Terrassa every year? We have about 1,800 references, which is outrageous. Of these, just over 800 are marketed in Spain; About 230 in Portugal, about 20 in the United States and the rest with international clients neither in Portugal nor in the United States, where we have branches. The factory produces between 90 to 100 million units every year.

Was 2023 a good year? We don't have the audited results yet, but we will issue invoices for more than €300 million. It has been a year of good growth and recovery after some complications arising from the Corona virus, wars, supply problems or inflation, which had an impact on a company where more than 70% is at a regulated price. We have grown by double digits. More or less, 75% of it is domestic and 25% is export, although we had major growth in export last year.

Cap on Cairn Pharma? We will continue to bet on generics, as there are still opportunities, and new products such as the topic of antidiabetics, anticoagulants or the topic of weight loss are increasing more and more and it will be the bets that we will make, and then, with the part of self-consumption or self-care we want to continue to give Options for patients in a society that is increasingly concerned with their well-being, and therefore, this area will be an area of ​​growth in the coming years, just like the sports area.

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In these 25 years they have made several facility expansions. where are they now? We have taken advantage of the available space within this piece of land that Roche suddenly purchased with great vision in 1973. We still have some room to grow, not a lot, and then we can reorganize the spaces within the areas we already have. I won't fool anyone if I say we fell here by chance, but obviously we've been here for 25 years and we've done a lot of work here. We would like to make some improvements to the polygons, but we can't complain about the institutional relationship we had with the various people responsible for Terrasa. Therefore, the commitment to Terrassa is unchangeable, among other things, because it would be impossible to transfer everything here. We were 100% taken at Terrassa, but I also have to say we love it. Terrassa is very well located and allows us to connect to the world from here. It is a safe bet that we will continue to grow in Terrassa.

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