OREANDA-NEWS The St. Petersburg pharmaceutical company Solopharm has opened new stages of the plant of liquid dosage forms and the production of dietary supplements at its industrial site in St. Petersburg. The total investments in the two projects amounted to more than 2 billion rubles, the founder and CEO of the company Oleg Zherebtsov told RBC Petersburg. The new facilities are designed for mass production of tens of millions of drugs per year, which will allow Solopharm to grow by 35-40% annually, the company says.

The fourth stage of the liquid dosage forms plant was put into operation in April "and became the final point in the almost ten-year expansion of this enterprise," Oleg Zherebtsov said. Investments in this line amounted to 1.5 billion rubles; 5 new lines were installed on it. According to Zherebtsov, this is the most productive and automated of all the queues of the plant, which will allow the company to produce 60 million packages of drugs per year: ophthalmic, urological, neurological, ENT and other medicines. Basically, we are talking about drugs of mass demand, which occupy significant market shares. "For example, Angidak throat spray took 44% of the Russian market, equaling the share of Tantum Verde. Angidak's sales amount to 1.5 billion rubles a year. For this and 37 other drugs that have become brands, we have created additional capacities; such investments give a well—predicted market effect," Oleg Zherebtsov explained.

According to him, for the construction of the queue, the company used the areas of the existing plant, "which were not fully occupied by profile operations." "But now there is not a single extra square meter in the building of the existing plant. In order to expand further in the segment of liquid sterile medicines, we need to think about building a new plant — this is possible in the horizon of 2-4 years. For the next 2 years, while maintaining an annual production growth rate of 35-40%, we will have enough built capacity," said the head of Solopharm.

In parallel, Solopharm completed the construction of the second stage of the dietary supplements plant, located on the same industrial site in St. Petersburg, owned by the company. The first stage was put into operation in the summer of 2022, "and we immediately started designing the second one," Zherebtsov said. Investments in the second stage amounted to 640 million rubles; it allows to produce about 105 million capsules per year, as well as dietary supplements in the form of sticks. With the introduction of this queue, Solopharm enters a new segment of liposomal dietary supplements.

"Liposomal — membrane—penetrating cells - dietary supplements are considered the next generation of biologically active additives; they are more complex, more permeable and biologically available," explains the CEO of Solopharm. — They are practically not produced in Russia. Such dietary supplements were imported to Russia, but now their supplies are difficult, and these are products in demand by people."

Solopharm estimates the volume of the Russian market of liposomal dietary supplements at 5-7 billion rubles per year, and "we traditionally aim at a quarter of the market," says Oleg Zherebtsov. The market volume of all dietary supplements in Russia is estimated at 70 billion rubles. The growth of this market intensified during the pandemic and did not stop after the start of the SVO.

According to Nikolay Bespalov, development director of the RNC Pharma analytical company, many players are now rushing into the dietary supplements segment, from manufacturers to broad—profile marketplaces - this niche looks attractive after iHerb leaves Russia, and it becomes crowded. Moreover, technological features, including the improvement of the properties of the BUD, play a much smaller role here than a powerful promotion and sales system. On the other hand, "there is still an opportunity for growth and development in this niche, so Solopharm may well try," Bespalov believes. The success of this attempt is supported by "the company's enormous experience in introducing new products to the market, including in areas related to medicines, such as solutions based on seawater for nasal rinsing," the expert notes.