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Is increasing molecular diversity pushing manufacturing ecosystem consolidation toward turnkey solutions?
There has been speculation around what manufacturing platforms, if any, can consolidate sufficient market share to dominate either specific operations (e.g., fill/finish) or more broadly, a full spectrum production suite of integrated operations. For the foreseeable future at least, it will likely be a mosaic of product solutions, but some manufacturers are clear in their own goals and strategies. In December 2023, it was announced that “The international technology group Körber signed an agreement on a close partnership and the acquisition of a minority share of the Franz Ziel GmbH” (1). The partnership requires regulatory oversight approval to be finalized.
The Körber team has been providing some thought leadership on the topic of how best to position itself within the broader market, for some time. Their website has a central message stating “at a time when new technologies and business models are rapidly entering the market, complexity increases. Interconnected solutions will allow us to realize our full potential in creating customer value. By supplementing our portfolio through strategic partnerships, we become more adaptable to customer needs. This is why, at Köerber, we invest in ecosystems” Their chief of sales Officer, Rami Jokela, more specifically calls out that, “the more diverse the challenge, the greater the value of the ecosystem. That is when a multi-company approach is the most beneficial” (2).
Olaf Ziel, CEO and owner of Franz Ziel, clearly share the overarching strategy perspective, as their company earlier this year also partnered withWatson-Marlow to launch a new integrated solution to fast-track cell, gene, and biological therapies.Of the agreement with Körber, Ziel stated in a press release (1), “The joint further development to a turnkey provider, access to the global sales and service network, the potential in the areas of digitization, Pharma 4.0, software and AI solutions, and last but not least, access to expanded production capacities were convincing arguments for entering into this partnership.”
At the moment in Germany at least, biopharmaceutical manufacturing is trending toward greater partnering and ecosystem interoperability.