Sanquin finds investors for plasma-derived medicine subsidiary SPP

Sanquin Plasma Products continues to make plasma-derived medicines for Dutch patients

Sanquin has reached agreement with an international consortium that will invest in Sanquin Plasma Products (SPP) and Plasma Industries Belgium (PIBe), Sanquin's subsidiaries that produce plasma-derived medicines. Together with these strategic partners, SPP and PIBe can grow, modernise production facilities, and develop new products. This agreement secures the availability and production of plasma-derived medicines in the Netherlands for the future. 

Need for economies of scale

Subsidiaries SPP and Plasma Industries Belgium (PIBe), based in Amsterdam and Brussels respectively, use advanced biotechnological methods to turn blood plasma into medicines that save lives or improve health. SPP's plasma-derived medicines are primarily offered in the Netherlands, where SPP has a market share of approximately 55%. The Netherlands is therefore currently largely self-sufficient. 

However, this Dutch self-sufficiency is under pressure. In recent years, industry consolidation has led to the emergence of a number of very large global players. These have achieved cost savings and economies of scale that a national plasma-derived medicine manufacturer such as SPP cannot match. SPP must therefore grow in order to achieve the same benefits. This requires a partnership.

Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi, Chairman of the Executive Board of Sanquin: "I am pleased with this agreement, because the Dutch market for plasma-derived medicines is too small to maintain a plasma-derived medicine company in a cost-efficient way. In isolation and without partners, SPP is not sustainable. The market for plasma-derived medicines is growing strongly, so now is the time for SPP to expand and achieve economies of scale. This requires investments to modernise and increase the efficiency of the production facilities. Then we can make more life-saving and life-improving drugs, for less money, with proportionally less plasma. Not only does this preserve the knowledge and infrastructure in the Netherlands, it also maximizes the utility of each plasma donation."

Importance of a national facility

The importance of presence of an infrastructure for plasma-derived medicines in the Netherlands was once again aptly demonstrated during the corona epidemic. Tjin-A-Tsoi underlines the added value: "The Netherlands is a frontrunner in Europe in the collection and processing of anti-COVID-19 plasma, precisely because we have local infrastructure. SPP is the only company in the Netherlands able to process high-quality plasma. This gives the Netherlands the opportunity to rapidly organize the manufacturing medicine for high-risk groups and to make its own policy choices in this matter, which is what Minister De Jonge did. This makes the Netherlands less dependent on the international market, where there is a supply constraint. With our new partners, we can maintain that position." 

Agreement

The consortium with which Sanquin has reached agreement consists of a group of international investors with extensive experience in the biomedical sector and the marketing of products from plasma. The investors are BioSolutions (plasma pharmaceutical company), Epstein Capital and Fortissimo Capital (growth capital), OBF investments (investment arm of one of the largest blood banks in the US), and Mesola Inversiones SL, a combination of pharmaceutical companies from Latin America (experts on the area of (​​plasma) pharmacy). By sharing their knowledge of the sector and the international market, Sanquin Plasma Products can quickly make the necessary efficiency improvements and increase its market share outside the Netherlands.

Following the transaction, Sanquin will have a priority share, with a controlling vote on corporate governance issues impacting the Dutch plasma-derived medicine supply. Sanquin also retains an equity share in SPP and provides a board member. Due to a clear legal and organisational separation of SPP from the rest of Sanquin, including the Blood Bank, the agreement has otherwise no effect on other entities of Sanquin. 

Donors and patients

The collection of plasma remains entirely in the hands of Sanquin Blood Bank on a not-for-profit basis. SPP purchases the plasma and processes it into plasma-derived medicines and continues to supply these medicines to Dutch patients. 

Together with its partners, Sanquin is fully capable of strengthening its production of medicines in the Netherlands, and thereby improving the lives of many patients. "Ultimately, this is what everyone cares about," says Tjin-A-Tsoi.