Adragos as a leading CDMO with an agile approach

by Azul Gonnet · January 9, 2024

Discover how the high standards we set for ourselves align with our customer’s expectations and how we use this to manage our business relationships.

Find the complete article below.

Adragos Pharma: The new and agile shooting star CDMO

Recent drug supply issues in the domestic market may provide tailwind to Adragos who are confident that the newly acquired site in Kawagoe can improve the supply situation in the domestic market. This would include the support of newly developed products that big pharma clients have in pipeline to be launched in Japan.

By ramping up production scale, Adragos Pharma is committed to serving its clients in Japan and making a difference in their local healthcare system and beyond. Keizo Yanagisawa, President of the Japanese operations, sees the potential to “deliver not only to the domestic but also to all pan-Asian markets. The site has substantial capacity and capabilities, so our declared goal is to be a hub for international pharma customers in the region.”

The CDMO landscape is neither known for rapid change innovation nor frequent newcomers. While there might be some changes in relative positioning, the landscape largely consists of the usual suspects. Recently, a novel name emerged in this playing field and has gained prominence.

Adragos Pharma, founded in Munich in 2020, has become somewhat of a rising star. In the last two years, the company incorporated manufacturing sites into their network. The most recent acquisition included Sanofi’s flagship site in Tokyo, one of the largest facilities in the country. It also closed an acquisition in March 2023 with Lamda Laboratories, the development unit from Clinigen Group.

At the time of writing this article, Adragos has 750 full-time equivalents (FTEs) globally with operations in France, Germany, Greece, and Japan. It is quite interesting to note how the company advances in the field, even though 2022 has proven a difficult year for the entire pharma and CDMO industry. So, what are the drivers behind this success?

What is the secret sauce?

Adragos’ management team consists of seasoned veterans with large pharma and CDMO pedigree. While this is not their first rodeo, it set out to approach things refreshingly differently without reinventing the wheel.

Dr. Andreas Raabe, founder and CEO, summarizes their strategy in simple terms: “In reality, most CDMOs are similar in WHAT they do – so we just emphasize the HOW things are done. For us, it means client first, service first, mission first. In addition to technical know-how and top-notch service, it is equally important to us that the interaction is truly enjoyable. As with any industry, customers come and stay for a great experience.”

Adragos has a clear geographic focus: Europe, Japan and North America. These regions share the highest quality standards and highest customer expectations in the way of managing business relationship. As of the time of this article, Adragos has a network of five sites globally to cater to a growing customer base. In France, Adragos operates one of the largest manufacturing sites for ampoules in Europe. In Germany, it offers manufacturing of liquids, semi-solids, and contract packaging for solids. In Japan, its two facilities provide inspection, re-testing, and packaging services for small and large molecules as well as end-to-end production for ampoules. It also provides all solid dosage forms, including specialized capabilities such as tablet printing, which is a typical requirement of the domestic market.

Strong Presence in Japan – a Unique Position

Adragos embraced the potential of the Japanese pharmaceutical market, where outsourcing to CDMOs is still nascent compared to Europe and the U.S. With the recent acquisition from Sanofi, they have become the largest non-Japanese player in the market. The management expects, from such strong presence in Japan, that it can offer clients unique capabilities that may not be available from others. Knowing the Japanese market well, it masters the unique high-quality requirements which also address all “cosmetic” necessities regarding impeccable packaging, often requiring manual visual inspection locally.

End-to-End Value Chain – a True “D” for Development

In 2023, Adragos took over the Development engine of Clinigen Group, Lamda Laboratories in Athens. “One has to recognize the customer’s need for life cycle management, line extension, and taking new molecules from formulation to commercial,” says Raabe, “so being credibly ‘D’ is important to be a good partner, especially as many CDMOs are only manufacturing organizations.”

So, Adragos is positioning itself in the end-to-end game with the capability to support clients from the early phase of product development, to scale- up, clinic and small, to large commercial production. This goes along with regulatory services. Around 70 scientists around the globe are dedicated to these services and Adragos’ aims to increase the number based on current demand.

What does the future hold?

“Pharma as a whole, and especially CDMOs, are laggards in adoption of digitization” says Marco Gorgas, CTO of the group. “What seems very normal in other industries is, to some extent, not adopted in the contract manufacturing world.” Adragos aims to move away from a transactional email, telephone call, or whatever way of interaction towards more integrated solutions between the customer and supplier. “In addition to technical know-how and top-notch service, it is equally important to us that the interaction is truly enjoyable”.

Since the launch of Adragos had a very clear strategy of being a customer-centric CDMO, which is a “soft” capability that can make the difference. However, Adragos also has the strategy to implement real “software” solutions to improve the customer experience and is piloting this project with selected customers, confirming the importance of the use of data. Adragos recently hired Data professionals to the company, who are going to work on the internal perspective (with a focus on assuring quality, improving efficiencies, and guaranteeing a reliable supply) as well as on the customer perspective (which calls for transparency of information, real-time access, and simplification of interaction).

Who is behind Adragos?

Somewhat unique is the ownership structure, as the group is jointly owned by a Norwegian investor (FSN Capital), a German Family Office (Prange Group) and the founding CEO. All of them seem to share a long-term perspective and, apart from growth ambitions, place significant importance on environmental and social factors (ESG) when judging the mission statements and annual reports. As ESG principles are incorporated in the agendas of all large pharmaceutical companies, Adragos is well advised and seemingly quite conscious that as a supplier, they better contribute to that agenda.



Dr. Andreas Raabe

Andreas started Adragos with the specific goal to build a leading global CDMO that would truly embody service mindset and a philosophy of partnership.

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