Bath ASU is at the top of Pharma Fast 50 list for the second year running

Compounding specialist Qualasept Pharmaxo Holding’s stellar growth sees it top the Pharma Fast 50 for the second year running.

Case Study: How Qualasept Pharmaxo Holdings did the double

With annualised revenue growth of 69% over the past two years, Qualasept Pharmaxo Holdings Ltd (QPHL) is this year’s top-ranked company in the Alantra Pharma Fast 50. That makes it the UK’s fastest growing privately-owned pharmaceuticals business for the second year in succession – QPHL also topped the Pharma Fast 50 in last year’s rankings.

QPHL’s Bath ASU unit is the UK’s largest private aseptic compounding provider, supplying hospitals up and down the country with the personalised medicines their patients require; it despatches several thousand items each day. Chris Watt, the company’s CEO, pinpoints two explanations for the company’s rapid growth. “We’ve been a committed investor in the product portfolio and our ability each year to extend the shelf life of six to ten biological products secures us windows of opportunity in which we’re often the sole supplier of those products,” he says. “At the same time, we’ve invested very heavily in our capacity – physically, but also in people.” Last year, the company bought a new 2,500 square metre manufacturing plant online, enabling it to scale up production but also to improve efficiency, with facilities designed on a bespoke basis to boost throughput. “For example, we’ve significantly reduced the time it takes between someone arriving on shift and being able to get into the clean room and start work,” Watt says. “We’ve also focused on resilience, with no single point of failure in the facility’s mechanical, electrical or control systems that could stop production.”

QPHL’s human capital, meanwhile, has increased in both number and calibre; the company has added to its workforce, but it is also a committed investor in training and skills. As the business has grown, Watt explains, leading the larger workforce has required new structures and management practices and he and his colleagues have had to adapt accordingly. The onus on the company now is to build on its success. In part, that will be enabled by both new and stronger relationships with the pharma companies from which it sources the drugs required for its compounds. “We’re finding it easier to manage our suppliers as we’ve grown because we’re seen as offering more potential for sales growth,” Watt says.

The company also sees an opportunity to help the NHS secure greater value from its medicines, through improved patient outcomes courtesy of high-quality compounds and greater efficiency, achieved via economies of scale and the business’s specialisation in supplying pharmacies. Watt believes the company can play a key role in providing greater capacity to NHS pharmacies. “Customer demand is only going to continue to increase and we see opportunities to do more – for example, to work more closely with hospital pharmacies through better logistics,” Watt says. If a pharmacy needs to supply medicines towards by 9am, say, the company should be able to deliver what is required to hit that deadline, he explains. “I see us extending our reach so we can serve hospitals from a much earlier stage in the ordering process; that may mean we need to move inside their systems to provide support with all their aseptic ordering, internal and external.