The Argentine drugmaker Varifarma has lost its licence from Octapharma, a Swiss multinational focused on blood products. The products are now licensed to a new firm called Infinity, which has repatriated the Argentine Juan Pablo Amber from Chile, where he had been general manager Australia’s CSL Behring.
Licensing agreements with multinationals not willing to run their own local subsidiary are a key area of business for many Argentine drugmakers. That was the case of Varifarma, a firm founded in 1995 by Aldo Conti and his wife, Susana Casasco, drawing on a share distribution made by Eugenio F. Casasco, grandson of the founder of an important local drugmaker of the same name.
However, Pharmabiz has learned that the company has lost the licence from Octapharma that it had secured back in 2004. The Swiss company’s product portfolio, comprising the quartet of antihemophilia drugs, Octanate, Octanine, Nuwiq, and Wilate; the human immunoglobulins Gammanorm and Octagam; the antihemorragic Octaplex; and the human albumin Albunorm is now under the wing of a new firm called Infinity.
Infinity Pharma was founded in 2020 by Luis Knorr, Paul Villagra, and Emiliano Bargas. The shareholders who are heavily involved in the blood products market, have brought in as general manager Juan Pablo Amber, an Argentine who was in Chile working as general manager for Australia’s CSL Behring. Infinity’s technical director is the pharmacist Lucia Cetraro while other key hires include Martin Biasioli; Ignacio Rivero; Fernando Martinez; Fernando d’Assuncao; and Jorge Fernandez. The company is currently seeking a marketing manager and medical director. See Official Gazette / See Infinity site.
The blood products market in Argentina saw a huge change when joint tenders were launched during the presidency of Mauricio Macri. Prices collapsed and the small returns changed company expectations completely. This and other factors related to business management led Octapharma to cut its relationship with Varifarma.
It’s not the only setback for Varifarma. Its flagship licence was for Amgen’s Kyprolis and Xgeva but this duo of products was taken on directly by Amgen in 2019 when the US drugmaker set up its own subsidiary in Argentina. Conti’s firm, in which Louis Israel retains a minority percentage still holds other licensing agreements. Last year, it sealed a deal with Switzerland’s Adienne for Tepadina, an oncological product indicated for use prior to bone marrow transplants. It also has a deal signed in 2021 with Italy’s Recordati for Ledaga, although the product, indicated for the topical treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, does not currently appear listed in the reference formulary.
Varifarma also has a deal with US-based Myriad Genetics for its cancer test EndoPredict. Finally, in April 2022, Varifarma closed a deal with the UK’s EUSA Pharma for its oncology product, Debt. Again, this product is not currently sold in the local market.