CEO changing, but Avid continues its versatile CDMO strategy

Having relaunched itself in 2018, Avid Bioservices says it is going from strength-to-strength in the contract manufacturing space and its strategy will continue with a new CEO.

Avid Bioservices emerged from drug developer Peregrine Pharmaceuticals in January 2018 as a pureplay contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

“While we were a product development organization, we also had manufacturing facilities to support the manufacturing of our pipeline. While we were focused on developing products, we were also offering our services for process development and manufacturing, our excess capacity,” Tracy Kinjerski, VP of Business Operations at Avid said during an Insider Daily interview at BIO.

Tracy Kinjerski, VP of Business Operations at Avid Bioservices, was interviewed at the BPI Theater at BIO

“In 2016, the leadership took a step back and was looking at where we were in our pipeline and how things were proceeding, and they decided we had to make a decision: ‘What was our business going to be? Where we were going to go?’ The decision was made to divest the entire portfolio of our own pipeline and focus being Avid Bioservices, a dedicated CDMO.”

In the 18 months since relaunching, Kinjerski told the BPI Theater the firm has been “very well-received by the customers and the industry.”

The firm had been in the game for 26 years – and approved as a commercial manufacturer for almost 15 – but Avid still has an independent, small to mid-size CDMO feel, she continued, being a boon to its customers.

“We’re able to be really flexible and make quick decisions. We really pride ourselves in working closely and collaboratively with our customers trying to come up with creative solutions to help them. We also have that strength in commercial. They know that when they work with us, they can transfer a project in at any phase and they don’t ever have to leave us.”

Changing heads

Recently, the firm has lost its CEO Roger Lias after only 17 months in the job. No reason was given for the departure.

Richard Hancock has been place as interim CEO, but the firm is actively looking for a new leader.

Kinjerski said Avid’s business model is unlikely to change whoever takes the top job. “Really what folks can count on is that we’ve established ourselves very well in the CDMO industry. We’re very well known, we have a very nice spread of skills and stages of molecules that we’re working on. We plan to continue down that pathway.”

As an example, she said the firm is in “growth mode” and plans for an expansion at a 42,000 square-foot shell next to one of its facilities in Tustin, California will continue to be assessed.

“We actually do have a tentative design that has been put forth a year or so ago,” she said. “We’re trying to really take a closer look at the trends and really think about, ‘What do our customers need and where are we going in the industry?’ We are thinking about it, but we have not finalized what that buildout is going to look like.”

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