The phone of Luis Argañarás, managing partner of Química Luar, burns at this time.
After it was known that a product developed by the company together with the Córdoba Center of Excellence in Products and Processes (Ceprocor) could be a solution in the treatment of patients with Covid-19, it is receiving numerous inquiries about how they reached this achievement. .
Argañarás’ answer is simple: “Innovation is our policy”.
Quimica Luar is a small SME of just 30 employees dedicated to the manufacture of medicines and which has a clear focus: to generate specific products on specific or “niche” health problems within pharmacology.
Or as explained on your page Web: “We promote research and development of innovative products, addressing the concerns of the medical community regarding complex and poorly attended pathologies.”
Two decades of R + D + i
Argañarás relates that he took command of the laboratory in 2001, at a time when it was on the brink of closure: it had no products or a productive and commercial structure; barely enabling to function and nothing else.
Since then they have been working with Ceprocor, with an eye toward generating “products that have added knowledge”, summarizes Argañarás.
Back then, manufacturing generic drugs accounted for 100 percent of the company’s billing. Today it represents less than 20 percent.
“All the products that we have launched have had innovation or are unique in the world. It is a work on niches, but because sometimes the product is a niche in itself. For example, medicines that are generic but are not made by anyone else in the world “, explains Argañarás.
The R + D + i (Research, Development and Innovation) of Química Luar is conceived as the core business of the company.
“There is no specific methodology or area. It is not like other companies that invest billions of dollars to be able to get a new molecule. Here we only make decisions measuring possible risks, thinking that it will work and we undertake,” he compares.
But he recognizes that this means a lot of time invested and, also, research that does not necessarily come to fruition. “This drug that has worked in Covid-19 treatments was born thought for patients with cystic fibrosis and took seven years of development. There is one that we were 10 years with Ceprocor and it did not come out. And it was a decade of my life that went with that ”, he reviews.
According to Argañarás, “innovating is not only bringing out a new molecule”, but many times what they achieve in the company is to re-functionalize and improve existing developments.
“There are drugs that formulated in a certain way have certain adverse effects. We have optimized drug formulations with which we can reduce their toxicity; that is, reduce those adverse effects,” he synthesizes.
One of the company’s flagship products is an osteoarthritis medication. And one of those currently working is a patch for patients who have suffered burns.
Quimica Luar exports to Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador, Panama, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States. And although it does not send products, it has patents with scope in Europe.
In the case of this drug, which is being successfully tested in patients with Covid-19, but would not work for most severe lung conditions, he says that it has already received interest from companies in the United States.
The product is not yet authorized to be marketed and, according to Argañarás, “in normal conditions, it would still take another four to five years for it to be approved.”
Due to the health emergencies imposed by the situation, if the efficacy of treatment with this drug can be verified in more cases, the leader of Química Luar considers that an emergency authorization with exclusive scope for the pandemic could be achieved.