DSM Expo 2021: Explore the top 3 insights unlocking new innovation opportunities in the Pharma market

By:  DSM Pharma Solutions Editors

DSM Expo 2021 – an interactive virtual event hosted from 16-18 March – brought together key opinion leaders, manufacturers and researchers from across the pharmaceutical sphere to explore the latest innovation opportunities, regulatory updates and scientific research dominating the industry.

The importance of knowledge sharing between industry experts is at an all-time high to help move the pharma industry forward and support patient health. To meet these needs, DSM’s expert-led event delivered a variety of science-powered live webinars, Q&As and virtual booths. Focused on topics such as value-added medicines and high-dose cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) to lipid API intermediates, the sessions revealed numerous insights within each field, helping to inspire the development of innovative, purpose-led pharmaceutical solutions.

Here, we include a summary of the key insights presented across the three-day event, including how DSM is supporting pharmaceutical customers as an end-to-end solutions provider.  

1.     Creating value-added medicines: the significance of drug-nutrient interactions 

Value-added medicines, or drug repurposing, is a concept that has been used in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. It encompasses the use of existing molecules that are re-positioned, re-formulated or combined with other technological platforms and services to optimize existing high-quality generic medicines and provide new therapeutic alternatives to address evolving healthcare needs. From market exclusivity, potential patent protection, lower development costs and shorter production timeframes, to improved efficacy and safety rates, repurposed medicines bring value to patients and pharma companies alike.

At DSM Expo 2021, CEO of Generapharm, Malcolm Ross, explored the pharmaceutical use of vitamins beyond their inclusion in nutritional solutions and what this means for manufacturers in the value-added medicine market. He explained that, unlike conventional therapeutic molecules, vitamins are considered non-toxic and safe, meaning regulatory resistance is low for their inclusion in drug formulations. During his session, Ross also outlined some unique concepts for the development of purpose-led value-added medicines including vitamin APIs. The webinar, available on-demand, explores why this is creating new opportunities for innovation in the generic medicine market and enabling manufacturers to develop more sustainable drug products. 

2.     Fast-evolving benefits of high-dose vitamin D3

Beyond repurposed medicines, DSM Expo 2021 explored the fast-evolving science-based benefits of high-dose calcifediol, or vitamin D3, and the latest market and consumer insights driving innovation in this field. Referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is mostly obtained from production in the skin following exposure to ultraviolet B rays. While most well-known for its role in bone health and muscle health, vitamin D is also essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.

In an insightful webinar led by DSM’s Igor Bendik-Falconnier, Maaike Bruins and Araksya Topchyan, the role of therapeutic high-dose vitamin D3 in the context of COVID-19 was reviewed. Substantial evidence indicates that vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of contracting acute respiratory tract infections (RTIs), like the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19, especially in individuals who are already deficient in the nutrient.1,2,3,4,5 Topchyan also revealed that there is a high level of awareness amongst consumers of vitamin D and its health benefits, with 63% of individuals associating vitamin D with immunity.6

The growing popularity of vitamin D, especially for its immunity benefit, is reflected in new market data which shows that the number of vitamin D single competent products entering the pharmaceutical market has risen by 9.8% in 2020.7 Major growth came from the OTC category specifically, with 23% growth in this space (4% Rx). This is a 30% higher gross rate compared to the previous year, signifying the significant growth of the vitamin D pharma space and representing an exciting opportunity for drug manufacturers.

3.     The untapped potential of lipid API intermediates

Visitors to DSM Expo 2021 also had the opportunity to learn about lipid API intermediates for pharmaceutical applications, including in areas such as cancer cachexia, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory diseases and sarcopenia. One science-led seminar delivered by Charles Perez, Director Global Product Management Nutritional Lipids, DSM, revealed that interest in lipid intermediate innovation is growing significantly. In fact, there are currently almost 90 approved pharmaceuticals or solutions in development using either EPA and/or DHA ingredients. The promising role of lipid intermediates is also being explored in more than 50 health areas.

As the science behind these bioactive lipids develops rapidly, opportunities for product innovation are opening up. DSM is a purpose-led, end-to-end, innovative partner for pharmaceutical producers looking to create lipid API intermediates and finished APIs — with a long-term focus on lipid APIs derived from plant-based sources.

Your innovation partner for supporting patients’ health

Creating purpose-led therapies that safely and efficiently help to improve people’s lives takes more than active pharmaceutical ingredients; it takes a partner.

DSM is a purpose-led, end-to-end innovation partner that helps both brand and generic manufacturers realize market success by enabling agile drug development, ensuring seamless product entry, and optimizing life-cycle management efforts. With more than 70 years of experience in producing and securing the supply of APIs, along with a strong IP portfolio, we have become a trusted partner for life-changing therapies that safely and efficiently improve people’s lives – today and tomorrow. This, together with the unique innovation expertise and the unparalleled ability to manage the market entry registration process, makes DSM the ideal partner for the development of OTC products and prescription medications. That’s why companies in the pharma market are working with DSM to address emerging therapeutic areas benefiting global patient health, while achieving their long-term growth.

Contact us: PartnerWithDSM.com

Published on

19 April 2021


  • Industry News
  • Article


7 min read

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  1. Lang et al. Vitamin D status and the host resistance to infections: what it is currently (not) understood. Clin Ther., vol. 39, no. 5, pg. 930-945, 2017. 
  2. Jolliffe. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections, systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregate data from randomised controlled trials. MedRxiv, 2020.
  3. Martineau et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections: individual participant data meta-analysis. Health Technol Assess, vol. 23, no. 2, pg. 1-44, 2019.
  4. Bergman et al. Vitamin D and Respiratory Tract Infections: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 6, e65835, 2013.
  5. Charan et al. Vitamin D for prevention of respiratory tract infections: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Pharmacol Pharmacother., vol. 3, no. 4, pg. 300-303, 2012.
  6. DSM Consumer Immunity Panel 2020.
  7. IMS Midas database, MAT Q3 2020.

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