• World Biz Magazine

ALFASIGMA - A 70 YEAR SUPER SUCCESS STORY OF PHARMA WITH PASSION



Alfasigma is one of the top 5 pharmaceutical companies in Italy, with a turnover in 2020 of approximately 1 billion euros.


A 70-year success story

Founded in 2015 through the merger of the Alfa Wassermann and Sigma-Tau groups — two of Italy's historic pharmaceutical companies — Alfasigma is one of the key players in Italy's pharmaceutical industry. Nationally, it is one of the top five Italian-owned pharmaceutical companies and is broadly represented on the international market, not only in terms of quantity of products, but also because it can count on a large number of subsidiaries and affiliated companies as well as a network of distributors that guarantee its diffusion throughout all five continents and in nearly 90 countries worldwide.


Our passion, our talents

These include 3,000 employees, 50% of whom are connected to the sales force and located in Italy. They are divided into five locations: Bologna is home to the management centre and Milan holds the international division headquarters, while Pomezia (Rome), Alanno (Pescara) and Sermoneta (Latina) house the production facilities. Bologna and Pomezia also host the Research & Development laboratories. In addition to the Italian plants, Alfasigma also has two other production plants — one in Tortosa, Spain, the other in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. The corporate turnover for 2019 was 1 billion 50 million euros, evenly split between Italy and the rest of the world. In addition to Alfasigma’s 17 direct subsidiaries, presence in the rest of the world is guaranteed by first-class local and international distributors.


Excellence in research, a corporate core business — The company is one of the pharmaceutical companies in Italy making the highest investment in Research and Development projects, concentrating particularly in vascular and gastrointestinal research. Inauguration of the Labio 4.0 Technological Development Centre in Pomezia — which will enable the company to achieve new goals and innovations for the pharmaceutical industry — began in 2020. In fact, a centre is currently under construction at the Pomezia site to host the new Research & Development laboratories fully dedicated to pharmaceutical technology and analytical chemistry, an investment of over 16 million euros. This is where all of the site's Research & Development structures will be concentrated.


In the same pavilion, a pilot plant is also being built for the production of experimental drugs, to operate in synergy with all Alfasigma technical and scientific functions. The other R&D centre is located in the historical headquarters of Bologna.


Therapeutic areas and products

In Italy the company focuses on prescription specialties, over-the-counter drugs, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements; in addition, it is also present in many primary care therapeutic areas. Among the well-known over-the-counter products are Biochetase, Neo-Borocillin, Dicloreum, Proctosoll and other commonly known names such as Yovis, Carnidyn and Tau-Marin.


The two main therapeutic areas are gastrointestinal and vascular, areas covered by two of the company’s five proprietary molecules; rifaximin and sulodexide. To date, gastroenterology is the Group's most important sector thanks, above all, to Rifaximin-α, an antibiotic for the treatment of gastro-intestinal pathologies, an intellectual property entirely the result of Alfasigma research.


As for the vascular area, the two drugs are: Sulodexide, a Vessel brand heparinoid which, besides being one of the company's first patents, it is marketed in over 40 countries; Parnaparin, a Fluxum-brand heparin used to prevent deep vein thrombosis, another product originating from internal research. Other areas in which the company is present are: dermatology, orthopaedics and rheumatology, the cardio-metabolic area, COPD, gynaecology, diabetology. In the US, a focus on nutraceuticals was added following the acquisition of Pamlab from Nestlé Health Science. The company recently announced the acquisition of several drugs and the development of others, for the gastrointestinal sector.


At the patients' side, both in Italy and around the world

Alfasigma's focus remains on the patients, thus it is strongly committed to manufacturing and marketing innovative solutions that meet the medical needs of thousands of people suffering from diseases that have not yet been overcome. One of these is malaria, which still claims millions of lives in third world countries.


In the rest of the world, the company focuses mainly on the marketing of proprietary molecules. For example, one of the most widely used drugs developed and produced in Italian plants is one for the treatment of malaria, which combines dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine — developed through research by Tu Youyou, a Chinese scientist who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2015 — and is distributed in third world countries at an affordable price through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


A starring role, even on the international market

Alfasigma's annual global turnover is around one billion and one hundred million euros and half of this is the result of exports, which are constantly on the rise. At the end of 2019, Alfasigma breached the wall of 110 million packs produced, setting a production record for the new group.


Alongside the traditional business, the company has become a leading player with a division dedicated to Contract Manufacturing — that is, the manufacture of products for other pharmaceutical companies — an area that rewards excellence in quality and service: since 2017 this area has shown a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 10.2%.



The value of sustainability

For years Alfasigma has been attentive and close to the territories and communities where it operates, supporting social, cultural and philanthropic projects and initiatives. In the communities where the company is present, many non-profit organisations benefit from CSR corporate contributions, including Fondazione Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Fondazione Golinelli, ANT (the Italian National Tumour Association) and many others.


Today, Fondazione Golinelli, founded in Bologna in 1988, is a unique example in Italy of a fully operational private foundation, inspired by the American model of philanthropic foundations; in an integrated manner, it deals with education, training and culture to promote the intellectual and ethical growth of young people and the general society, the aim being to contribute to the sustainable development of our country.


For Alfasigma, passion means a constant commitment to supporting and sustaining culture, art and science because it believes that one’s well-being does not depend solely on being healthy, but also derives from other aspects of life and the surrounding environment.


Commitment to patients, doctors, and pharmacists

Alfasigma is engaged in campaigns to raise awareness in different therapeutic areas, in particular, cirrhosis of the liver, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

In addition to raising public awareness, working in close collaboration with scientific societies and patient associations, Alfasigma supports numerous continuing medical education (CME) courses for pharmacists and physicians in Italy and worldwide.


The well-being of our employees

The company is strongly motivated to create a healthy, challenging and competitive work environment that consistently applies pharmaceutical industry best practices. An environment where its employees can feel comfortable and motivated to express their fullest potential. Among the initiatives focused on employees are cultural events with free admission, such as visits to exhibitions and participation in concerts. Alfasigma also provides company welfare packages and, since 2019, also the so-called remote working, i.e. the possibility of working from home for a set number of days to meet individual needs. The company is developing environmental awareness and sustainability initiatives in areas where it has administrative and production facilities.


www.alfasigma.com