Read the Conversation

EF: From your and Silanes’ perspective, is 2023 a challenge or an opportunity? 

RQ: 2023 presents a significant opportunity for our company. Over the past five years, we have diligently prepared for the future by strengthening our organization, establishing a robust pipeline for new products, and assembling a top-notch team. These efforts have positioned us to capitalize on the market's prospects. Last year alone, we launched three new products and ventured into a previously untapped therapeutic class for respiratory treatments. We introduced another product at the beginning of this year, further expanding our portfolio. We are gearing up to unveil two more products in the upcoming months, demonstrating our commitment to continuous growth. 

While challenges are inevitable, our company has always navigated them with resilience. Political fluctuations, shifts in healthcare systems, and changing customer behaviors have been a constant, but we have consistently leveraged these challenges to uncover new opportunities. Throughout my extensive 35-year career, I've witnessed this dynamic play out year after year, and it all comes down to how well a company seizes its potential.  

For us, the horizon is bright. We are introducing many new products, reinforcing our market position, and forming valuable partnerships, like the one in the USA, where we collaborate with another company on an antivenom product. Anavip, our rattlesnake and copperhead snake antivenom, launched three years ago, is steadily gaining momentum, creating diverse avenues for growth. In summary, 2023 holds immense promise for us. With a strong foundation, an array of innovative products, and a proactive approach to market challenges, we are set to embrace countless opportunities. 

EF: Can you elaborate further on your footprint in Mexico and the range of your portfolio? 

RQ: In 2023, we see a significant opportunity ahead, as we've spent the last five years diligently preparing our company for the future. Our focus has been building a stronger organization, fostering a robust pipeline of new products, and assembling a talented team to drive our success. 

Our major business in the Mexican market lies in the cardiometabolic area, particularly with a strong presence in diabetes treatment, where we stand as a key player, representing close to 50% of the market. One of our proudest achievements is a product developed by Silanes over 15 years ago, licensed to major companies like Sanofi Aventis and another in Brazil. 

The cardiovascular domain has seen recent success with our launch of a groundbreaking combination of two drugs to reduce cholesterol. Given the prevalence of metabolic diseases and diabetes in Mexico, this represents a significant market opportunity to address the country's health challenges. One of our recent successes includes a unique combination of antihypertensive and rosuvastatin, efficiently addressing multiple patients' needs. 

Another significant area of focus for us is analgesics. We prioritize product development, striving to make a real impact on patients' lives. As a Mexican company, we are distinct from the commonly branded genetic firms, choosing instead to introduce products that truly matter. Our growth strategy for the next five years centers around organic developments, driven by a dedicated team of 100 talented professionals at our manufacturing plant, all committed to creating innovative products and combinations. 

In addition to our organic developments, we have established ourselves as an ideal partner for global companies seeking to enter the Mexican market. Our pipeline comprises a mix of organic and inorganic products through licensing agreements. This strategy positions us for future growth. The analgesic business in Mexico represents about 30% of our overall portfolio, featuring a range of products, including muscle relaxants and pain relievers. Recently, we introduced a groundbreaking liquid sachet analgesic for faster relief and enhanced patient compliance, further strengthening our product offerings. 

Towards the end of last year, we proudly introduced a unique combination of pregabalin and tramadol to address neuropathic pain. This type of pain significantly impacts patients' quality of life and is often severe, with limited treatment options available. The success of this combination, launched last year, reinforces our commitment to developing effective solutions. In our pipeline, we have ten more products planned for launch in the next three years, all aimed at targeting crucial patient symptoms. By enhancing the quality of life, we have established a strong presence in this field, offering a portfolio that makes a meaningful difference to those we serve. 

Our third major business revolves around antivenoms, which has proven to be a significant venture for us, especially in Mexico's government sector. The government's commitment to providing patient access has bolstered this aspect of our business, accounting for approximately 15% of our total operations. Silanes takes pride in being a global leader, offering vital protection against venomous bites. We initiated our journey with an antivenom for scorpions, followed by the successful launch of a snake antivenom three years ago. Currently, we are in the process of registering a new product in the USA, specifically for the Black Widow spider. With a strong presence across Mexico, Latin America, Europe, and the USA, we have significantly reduced mortality and complications associated with these bites. To put things into perspective, worldwide, there are over 400,000 amputations and more than 100,000 deaths annually resulting from venomous bites, with a significant number occurring in Africa. 

Let me share a remarkable story from two years ago when we embarked on a project with the World Health Organization (WHO). Their ambitious strategy aimed to reduce mortality, complications, and amputations in patients affected by venomous bites by 50%. We are proud to have obtained a WHO certification for our efforts. Once they implement the initiative, we will supply life-saving treatments in the cardiovascular, analgesic, and antivenom fields. Recently, we ventured into the Central Nervous System (CNS) therapeutic area, recognizing the growing demand for treatments related to emotional and CNS diseases. Our pipeline includes five new products, and we've secured licensing for additional products from Asia and Europe, further expanding our portfolio. 

Last year, we successfully entered the respiratory area, introducing a unique combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol in liquid form for pediatric patients. This product has been well received, providing both analgesic and anti-inflammatory relief. Expanding our offerings in the respiratory area, we also developed a tablet combination with an increased concentration of paracetamol for enhanced analgesic effects in adults. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with nearly 40,000 units sold per month in a short span. Moreover, we partnered with Roche, a leader in influenza treatment, to launch baloxavir marboxil - a groundbreaking innovation requiring just one tablet or dosage daily. This cutting-edge treatment has garnered recognition and has been incorporated into various treatment guidelines. By capitalizing on our expertise in the respiratory field and forming strategic alliances, we continue to thrive in this domain, making significant strides in providing effective and convenient patient solutions. 

We plan to explore two more therapeutic areas, including senescence-related products, to cater to an aging population. As demographics change, we aim to be at the forefront of delivering effective treatments for seniors. 

Our success is attributed to our talented team, skillfully managing different business units, and fostering a culture of innovation. By aligning our strategies with organic developments and strategic partnerships, we are poised to impact the healthcare landscape and continue our growth journey positively. 

EF: From your perspective, how do you evaluate the lack of emphasis on preventive care, particularly given the significance of an aging population in Latin America? How can we shift the balance more towards prevention? 

RQ: As we look ahead to the market beyond 2040, we anticipate significant healthcare and prevention strategy changes. The aging population, especially those above 50, may face preventable diseases, while the younger generation is becoming more health conscious. This shift emphasizes the importance of prevention, spanning primary, secondary, and tertiary stages. Our current focus lies in the tertiary stage, where patients with conditions like diabetes need specific goals regarding glucose levels and hemoglobin to prevent severe complications such as limb or organ loss. In light of this, our efforts are dedicated to a future where comprehensive prevention, targeting each prevention level, will enhance overall well-being and longevity for all age groups. 

The growth of secondary prevention is notable, particularly among the significant portion of the population that isn't elderly. This expansion presents opportunities for enhancing secondary preparation, not just through pharmaceutical products but also by offering comprehensive services. In the larger context, this emphasis on secondary prevention opens doors to diagnosing ailments earlier and providing prompt patient care. Such efforts can improve health outcomes and make a meaningful difference in people's lives. 

Looking further ahead, primary prevention gains importance as life expectancy rises, possibly exceeding 100 years for future generations. Consequently, people may encounter different health challenges in their extended lifespans, making proactive healthcare even more crucial. Artificial intelligence will significantly empower physicians with vast data for precise prevention strategies. Meanwhile, patients, especially the younger demographic, are already showing remarkable dedication to exercise, lifestyle, and wellness. 

Moreover, we foresee a transformative impact on cancer treatment and potential cures in the coming decades. As cancer cases rise, prevention will become a major focus. We hope that within 20 years, cancer will transition from a dreaded illness to a curable one. Consequently, prevention will take center stage, with the rising incidence of cancer cases prompting the non-affected population to take proactive measures. This shift towards comprehensive prevention will bring about transformative changes, influencing behaviors, attitudes, and overall healthcare practices. The evolving healthcare landscape brings about improvements in prevention, emphasizing collaboration between medical professionals and informed, health-conscious patients. As technology advances and awareness grows, we see a healthier future ahead. 

EF: As Silanes Mexico celebrates its 80th anniversary later this year, what message do you plan to convey to your colleagues, workers, and collaborators on this momentous occasion? 

RQ: We cherish our past, but for Silanes, the true celebration of our 80-year journey lies in building the next 80 years. My role might not extend to the 160th celebration, but young company members may have that privilege. The healthcare sector faces numerous global challenges today, making it the most critical issue for governments and populations. 

Our mission, "Hacer de la vida una historia saludable" (Transforming life into a story of health), is at the core of our purpose. We take pride in being part of this company and embrace the responsibility of paving the way for the future. The commitment to this cause runs deep within the families behind Silanes. Since its inception by the grandfather, we now have a third-generation council, with the president at just 38 years old. This exciting transition occurred three years ago, signifying our focus on the future rather than dwelling solely on the past. Together, with a passionate outlook, we march forward, determined to make a meaningful impact on the healthcare landscape for generations to come. 

August 2023