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Italy first in Europe for the third-party pharmaceutical industry – Food

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Italy first in Europe for the third-party pharmaceutical industry – Food

It is a sector little known to non-experts, but it is growing rapidly and places Italy at the top of the European ranking, promising new and growing employment opportunities. It is that of pharmaceutical production companies for third parties, defined as Cdmo (Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation): Italy confirms itself first in Europe with a turnover of 3.1 billion euros while the demand for specialized personnel is growing, especially aimed at to the young people.

The balance sheets, according to the latest Farmindustria-Prometeia 2023 survey, therefore confirm the Italian primacy, while Germany and France maintain second and third place with a turnover of 2.7 and 2.2 billion euros respectively, against an annual European turnover of 15 billion euros. Overall, the increase in turnover in the two-year period 2022-23 was more than 34%, with a peak of 44% for the production of biological and high-tech drugs. The share of production directed to foreign multinationals stands at over 80% and almost all exports are directed towards advanced economies such as the EU, the United States and Japan. The growth of the domestic market is more limited, but still significant: +28% in the period 2010-2023. Data that confirms how the CDMO companies active in Italy, the survey finds, stand out as “important strategic partners thanks to their competitive capacity, high productivity and strong flexibility, strengthened by a constant propensity for investment and innovation” .

The result is that employment in the sector continues to grow, at a rate higher than that of the overall economy: the employees of CDMO companies have in fact increased by 11% in the two-year period 2022-23 and it is estimated that the demand for personnel specialized will continue to grow. The sector, explains Anna Maria Braca, president of Farmindustria’s Cdmo group of pharmaceutical manufacturing specialists, “has around 20 companies with Italian and foreign capital and we have a growing need for personnel. In Italy there are currently 15 thousand employees employed in the sector”. For this reason, Cdmo companies, states Braca, “have, for example, already started collaborations with various large universities mainly for disciplines such as Chemistry, Engineering, Pharmaceutical Technologies and Information Technology“. The demand is such that students, even before graduation, are already contacted by companies with the aim of starting a specific training course: “In fact, a high level of specialization is required – specifies Braca – and timing is essential to have a competitive advantage”. In recent years, you underline, “foreign CDMO companies have even had to stop production due to lack of personnel. We, on the other hand, have never stopped”.

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But what is the key to the success of this sector? The CDMO companies in Italy that “have invested in technology – replies Braca – have been able to capture the ongoing change in the pharmaceutical industry, positioning themselves in cutting-edge pharmaceutical research. This has made them strategic partners and no longer just contract manufacturers. Therefore, the role of the CDMO is central in the therapeutic revolution that is underway with the production of highly innovative drugs. The CDMO guarantees the pharmaceutical industries the innovative technologies that allow new generation drugs to be made available in a timely manner” . Thus, the employment opportunities are enormous and the key words are ‘specialization’ and ‘speed’: “We are competing with foreign countries especially for figures such as biotechnologists, specialized doctors, data scientists, bioinformatics engineers and specialists in AI – states the president of Farmindustria Marcello Cattani – This is to adapt CDMO production more and more quickly to the evolution of global market demand”. This is because the demand for drugs “has exploded in recent years, but it is a demand – he concludes – increasingly oriented towards latest generation and increasingly technological drugs”.

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