An impressive crowd gathered at Chiesi Pharmaceutical Group yesterday (November 21) to mark the much-anticipated start of work at its Biotech Center of Excellence, bringing the future of medicine to Parma.
Guests, which included Vice Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Valentino Valentini, joined to celebrate the start of the work on the building, the new Italian and international center of excellence to produce biologic drugs.
Expected to open and be fully operational in 2024, the center will specialize in the development and production of the active ingredients of monoclonal antibodies (produced through recombinant DNA techniques starting from a single type of immune cell), enzymes and other proteins.
Chiesi focusing on biological drugs
“The success of Made in Italy is possible thanks to realities such as Chiesi, in first place among private companies for investment in research and development in Italy: over 20% of turnover, around half a billion Euro in 2022, and in first place for the number of patents.
“The Chiesi Group is now focusing on biological drugs including monoclonal antibodies with an 85 million Euro investment in an international center of excellence in Parma, confirming its corporate culture focused on the patients, innovation, and maximum environmental sustainability”, said Valentini.
Chiesi is keen to further develop the specialized expertise already present in Italy and wants to attract new talent and technical skills to work from cells to the finished drug and packaging for the global market.
Chiesi keen to develop expertise
The creation of the Biotech Center of Excellence, Chiesi believes, is the response needed for the challenges highlighted by the pandemic, which revealed a need to improve the resilience of the healthcare system, including improvements in sustainability.
Today, only 22% of all new treatments developed worldwide originate in European countries, and this is partly caused by slower growth in research and development and investment across the region.
Alberto Chiesi, president of the family-run Chiesi Group, said: “Today, we are proud to present this new center of excellence in the presence of local, regional, and national institutions. For Chiesi, it has always been essential to invest in research with the goal of making our country, and Europe, a leader in production and access to innovation. Moreover, the new Biotech Center represents a strong message of growth for Italy and for the Parma community in particular, where Chiesi was established and where its headquarters are still based,”
Emilia-Romagna to compete at international level
The event, held at the Chiesi San Leonardo production site in Parma, where the new Center is being built, as well as Valentino Valentini, speakers included the President of the Emilia-Romagna Region Stefano Bonaccini, Councilor Vincenzo Colla, the Mayor of Parma Michele Guerra, the President of Farm industria Marcello Cattani, and the Group’s top management.
“Research, innovation, and new technologies are the strategic drivers that will enable an area like Emilia-Romagna to compete at an international level now and in the near future. For this reason, the opening of this center is an excellent news that will enrich our region with another place of excellence in the field of pharmaceuticals. As an institution, we intend to stand by the entrepreneurial realities that invest in good jobs, innovation, and research, providing them with more and more opportunities.
“Starting with a regional system that is enriched, with the inauguration on Thursday at the Technopole of Bologna, of the European supercomputer Leonardo, the fourth largest in the world in terms of computing power, an extraordinary infrastructure, at the service of Italy and Europe, which also includes pharmaceuticals and biotechnology as several sectors with the greatest potential,” said the Emilia-Romagna region president Stefano Bonaccini.
Chiesi’s commitment to research in Italy
The company says that for Italy and Europe to become leaders in terms of raw materials and access to innovation, it is fundamental that European and National institutions work on the creation of norms and regulations that are future proof. Furthermore, it said, it is also crucial to begin working to maintain a system of strong incentives that encourages scientific progress, technology, and innovative pharmaceuticals. To focus on the value brought to patients and the healthcare system, it’s necessary to strive for regulatory ecosystems that look past the concepts of innovation evaluation on the base of technology.
Antonio Magnelli, head of global manufacturing division at the Chiesi Group, said: “With the Biotech Center, the company intends to internalize its expertise in order to have an effective research facility that can develop new drugs and facilitate integration with the manufacturing plant in our region. Our goal will not be to compete with the big multinationals, but to become a center for excellence in our molecules. The Biotech Center will not only be advanced in terms of biotechnology; it will also be developed with the same prerogatives as the company’s other facilities. By investing in Biotech, we are investing in the medicine of the future, preparing for future healthcare demands.”
The meeting was also an opportunity to celebrate Chiesi’s commitment to research in Italy; indeed, the Group continues to invest in the region, conducting projects that produce value and new highly qualified jobs. The new therapeutic opportunities offered by the Biotech Center of Excellence will allow the company to become a major player in the biopharmaceutical sector, an industry that has been constantly growing for around 10 years.
The company added that the Biotech Centre crucially represents an investment in the future, and Chiesi wants to send a clear message of commitment to the country – and the community of Parma in particular, where Chiesi was born and continues to grow.