Hovione is a Portuguese company that produces active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and conducts drug product intermediates development and compliant manufacture. Hovione is a Contract Development and Manufacturing Company (CDMO) dedicated to helping pharmaceutical customers bring new and off-patent drugs to market. With sites in the United States, Portugal, Ireland and China. The company provides a number of products and services to the pharmaceutical industry including separate or integrated API, pre-formulated compounds, particle engineering, formulation development and manufacturing. It also supports highly potent compounds and proprietary product development and licensing for drug products. It is also present in the inhalation area.

Founded1959 (1959)
Key people
  • Guy Villax (CEO)
  • Jean-Luc Herbeaux (COO)
  • Diane Villax (Founder Chairman)
  • Elie Vannier (Chairman)
  • Pharmaceutical Fine Chemicals
  • Off-Patent APIs
  • Inhalation
  • Contract Manufacturing Services
  • Drug Substance
  • Drug Product
  • Particle Engineering
  • Proprietary Product Licensing
Number of employees
1998 (2020)


Ivan Villax - 1950

Hovione continues to be a privately held company with 5 plants - in Portugal (1969), Macao (1986), New Jersey (2001) expanded in 2016,[1] Taizhou in mainland China (2008) and Cork, Ireland (2009) - have a total reactor capacity of 1300 m³ and 1100 people worldwide. Since Hovione started operations in 1959, the company has patented more than 100 innovative chemical processes and produced industrially over 45 different APIs. All Hovione sites have been successfully inspected either by FDA, European Medicines Agency or the PMDA Japanese agency.[2][3][4][5]

Hovione is a major source of semi-synthetic tetracyclines and corticosteroids, and is the largest independent supplier of contrast agents – these three families of compounds make up most of its generic product portfolio. The other half of the business focuses on exclusive projects:[6][7]

  • Development and manufacture of innovator APIs
  • Particle Engineering: manipulations of physical properties of APIs, polymeric encapsulation
  • Development of formulations for pulmonary delivery

Research and developmentEdit

Hovione has two R&D centers with a team of over 270 scientists, one in Portugal - Loures and another one in its facilities in New Jersey. Hovione has international partnerships, including with Cambridge and MIT.[8] In 2016, 7 PhDs were simultaneously running and it has launched a scientific program named "9oW",[9] which challenges scientific and academic communities to help overcoming technological challenges. Also, Hovione is already the largest private employer of doctorates in Portugal (57 doctorates in Loures).[10]


Hovione was always present in the pharmaceutical industry offering products and services related to the development and manufacture of either a new chemical entity (NCE) for an exclusive contract manufacturing partner or an existing API for an off-patent product. In nowadays it is an integrated solution provider, from process chemistry to particle engineering to formulation,[11] from very small scale to full commercial capacity and from preclinical to market. In the area of technologies, it has capabilities in spray drying (also for potent drugs), spray congealing, fluidized spray drying, aseptic spray drying, jet milling, controlled crystallization, microfluidization, continuous manufacturing,[12] continuous tableting.[13] And methodologies Quality by Design,[14] process analytical technology (PAT), britest, lean, scale-up science, modeling. Hovione invested about $100 million in 2017 and plans to spend as much again this year and next. The plan over the next three years is to continue investing, especially in Portugal, where the firm will add 165 m3 of chemical synthesis capacity, a spray-dryer building, and a 1,200-m2 analytical lab.[15]


  1. ^ “Hovione to build US plant for Vertex's cystic fibrosis drugs” - in-Pharma Technologist
  2. ^ Fine Chemicals: The Industry and the Business – 2nd Edition, Wiley 2012
  3. ^ EPM Magazine[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ ""How to avoid icebergs" – Speciality Chemicals Magazine". Archived from the original on 2012-12-16. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  5. ^ “A test tube in three continents” - Macao Magazine
  6. ^ ""Handling potent drug materials" – Clean Room Technology". Archived from the original on 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  7. ^ ""What is special about inhalation APIs?" - Drug Delivery Technology". Archived from the original on 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  8. ^ “Hovione & MIT Portugal Symposium: Showcasing Portuguese Pharma Science” - MIT Portugal
  9. ^ “Hovione disponível para investir cinco milhões em investigação em Portugal” - Jornal Negócios
  10. ^ “O prazer de desenvolver um modelo e vê-lo aplicado em dois meses” - DN
  11. ^ “Hovione Acquires a Formulation Plant” - Cision PR Newswire
  12. ^ “Continuous Processing: Meeting the Need for New Manufacturing Strategies” - Pharma's Almanac
  13. ^ “Hovione and Vertex Partner in Continuous Manufacturing” - Cision PR Newswire
  14. ^ “Speeding Development And Reducing Costs With Analytical Quality By Design” - Pharma's Almanac
  15. ^ "Hovione bulks up, with a twist". Chemical & Engineering News. Retrieved 2019-05-21.

External linksEdit