Piam Iberia: Italian Pharma on the International Marketplaces.
Piam Farmaceutici is starting up a subsidiary in Madrid, Spain.
Andrea Maini, Piam’s Managing Director, gives reasons and illustrates objectives.
Doctor Maini, when and where was Piam formed?
Piam is a pharmaceutical company that goes back over 100 years and the brain-child of physician and medical researcher Professor Edoardo Maragliano – founder of the homonymous Maragliano Institute of Pneumology in Genoa and discoverer of the first effective TB vaccine.
To this day, our company still bears the founder’s imprint, through know-how that reaches deep into an understanding of pharmaceutical technology, drugs, the medical world and patient needs.
At the end of 2014, Piam was taken over by new Italian shareholders with an entrepreneurial background and has since been gearing up to take on a whole new set of domestic and international challenges.
Where is Piam currently positioned on the Italian market?
Nowadays, Piam leads both the Italian and international pharmaceutical settings thanks to its leadership in treatment options for patients with rare diseases such as inherited metabolic disorders or other low prevalence pathologies. Besides this, Piam also caters for more common pathologies, such as Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy and clinical conditions of a cardiovascular, neuro-geriatric and respiratory nature.
On an international level, three decades of research in rare diseases imply that Piam is one of the few companies that can hold their own by offering a two-fold line of expertise that addresses both drugs and food for special medical purposes.
Where ethical pharma is concerned, PIAM has recently started marketing Rosumibe – an innovative fixed-dose combination of two top-tier drugs, i.e. rosuvastatine and ezetimibe – which is indicated in hypercholesterolemia.
Piam is among the first in Italy to have launched this drug – currently of huge interest throughout Europe. Indeed, the fixed-dose combo of two active ingredients ensures maximum therapy adherence – an on-going concern among care-givers, from physicians to NHS staff.
Fixed-dose combinations, alongside other product-development features, such as micro-tablet formulations, slow-release technology and improved palatability are just some aspects of Piam’s newly-embraced approach to incremental innovation. In practice, Piam strives to combine and build on continuing research into the improvement of basic formulations which in turn is informed both by technology and an understanding of patients by clinicians.
Drug production in Italy has exceeded that in Germany: how is your choice informed by current global market trends?
We are proud of the fact that Italy is the first producer of pharmaceutical drugs in Europe, thus ranking ahead of Germany. Production drives all pharmaceutical know-how, and being a part of the trend testifies to Piam’s competitiveness on global markets.
Our approach holds international tenure, so much so that we have gained access to competence, technology and production capacities on a global scale, therein striving for that particular strain of excellence often found in Italy.
What objectives has Piam Iberia set for itself?
Piam’s business model has been hugely successful both in Italy and abroad and we plan to implement it on a wider international scale. Indeed, we have recently opened Piam Iberia in Madrid – our first subsidiary for Spain and Portugal.
Besides this, we are expanding on other key markets such as Turkey, the Ukraine, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where we currently operate through qualified partners by way of highly-skilled, segment-specific distributors.
But, going back to Piam Iberia, we plan to start putting our newest MediFood range of Food for Special Medical Purposes onto the Spanish and Portuguese markets. This range is especially indicated in rare disorders affecting protein metabolism. As a matter of fact, we supply slow-release protein substitutes able to mime the physiological absorption of food proteins.
Let’s move on to discussing people: have you opted for Italian staff or are you employing local professionals?
First and foremost, we elected to hire an Italian manager who has lived and worked in Spain for many years. Any further staff involved in this strategic new operation is made up of expert management personnel from our head office in Italy, each in charge of such key functions as regulatory affairs, production, supply chain, marketing and admin..
At Piam, we believe it pays to capitalise on understanding local law and legislation, policies and rules as well as viable business models that will foster development to the fullest. Indeed, when operating on niche markets, transferring successful business models from other countries is key to greater viability, thus encouraging positive ties with the local scientific community.
We are grateful to a number of Italian Opinion Leaders for their internationally-beknown endorsement, granted through the extensive and proven success by our range of treatment options. Their advocacy vouches for the clinical appropriacy of our work.
What new projects are there in Piam’s pipeline, both regarding Spain and overall?
As for Spain and Portugal, ministry approval is expected by the end of the year which will allow us to start marketing and secure NHS-reimbursability of our range of Food for Special Medical Purposes as well as of pharmaceutical drugs used with certain rare metabolic diseases, such as type-1 tyrosinemia and Niemann Pick disease type C.
As for the rest of Europe, our focus is on developing business in high-potential countries, where the treatment of rare or low prevalence diseases is as yet an un-met clinical need. Indeed, Italy is among the first countries in which neo-natal screening for inherited metabolic diseases is compulsory. This, in turn, has raised both the awareness and the competency as to such issues with the medical profession, and earmarked Italy as a centre of excellence. Piam’s mission statement is therefore to run with Italian competency, and disseminate it well and truly on the international scenario.