This transformational joint venture provides Vifor Pharma direct access to dialysis patients, facilitating the product distribution and recruitment for clinical development. It transformed the company from Glattbrugg rapidly into a global nephrology corporation. Such vertical integration is a role model for the convergence of different life science sectors.

For a long time, biotech companies have merged with pharma organizations to sell products effectively, to engage in global licensing deals, and/or to build in-house sales teams. Today, innovations based on a strategic partnership like the joint company Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma (VFMCRP) provide an attractive and valuable alternative to the traditional approach.

Born when Vifor Pharma, a niche player and global leader in iron therapy, teamed up with Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s leading dialysis company, VFMCRP combines Vifor Pharma’s expertise in pharmaceuticals with the skills and infrastructure of Fresenius Medical Care. This vertical integration allowed Fresenius to provide Vifor Pharma with a worldwide distribution platform and access to the majority of renal patients. Vifor Pharma used this to run effective clinical trials and develop a powerful sales platform to reach patients with renal diseases. In less than ten years, Vifor Pharma has established itself as a world leader in renal care. The successful market launch of Mircera® displaced the existing drugs – Aranesp and Epogen – within less than a year and reached 90% market share after just one-and-a-half years. This process transformed VFMCRP into a trusted partner for big pharma players, such as Pfizer and Roche, which have licensed some of their products to VFMCRP.

This incredible Swiss biotech success story means that patients with chronic kidney disease benefit from comprehensive care, as well as information and access to attractive clinical trials. Vifor Pharma meanwhile accelerates innovation of its renal care product portfolio and further strengthens its competitive advantage.

  • Nominated in 2018
  • Winner in 2019