Lifecore Biomedical CEO James G. Hall
By Jarrett Banks
IPO Edge: Can you give me a short description of what Lifecore does?
Lifecore Biomedical is a fully integrated contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) with highly differentiated capabilities for development and fill/finish of complex sterile, injectable-grade pharmaceutical products. We’re also a manufacturer of Hyaluronic Acid, a material used by pharmaceutical companies and medical researchers in R&D, toxicology studies, clinical studies, and commercial applications.
In layman’s terms, we help major pharma companies develop and manufacture life-changing pharmaceuticals.
IPO Edge: Tell us about the decision to rebrand and, as part of that rebrand, use a new ticker symbol on Nasdaq.
Landec, our previous parent company, acquired Lifecore in 2010. Landec was a diversified company with many different businesses, mostly in the food industry. Throughout the years, Lifecore provided consistent and predictable growth, and the leadership team made the decision to fully transition the company’s focus to Lifecore. The rebrand and ongoing divestment of the remaining food businesses allow us at Lifecore to continue to grow as a leader in the CDMO market.
In connection with this rebranding, today, we updated our Nasdaq ticker symbol from Landec’s legacy symbol (LNDC) to a new ticker which aligns with our corporate Lifecore brand (LFCR).
IPO Edge: What is the typical use case for a CDMO?
I think many people would be surprised to know just how integral CDMOs are to the health care continuum. A CDMO supports pharma companies at all stages in the process of making medicines. We provide development services, clinical and commercial manufacturing/packaging, and play a pivotal role in the commercialization process, including providing regulatory support.
CDMOs not only manufacture drug products and medical devices on behalf of pharma companies, but we also collaborate with them on process innovations and development activities that occur prior to manufacturing. As a result, we are fully integrated into the pipelines of many of the world’s leading drug developers.
IPO Edge: How are you differentiated from others in the CDMO space?
Lifecore has the capabilities to do what others can’t, and we have a long and successful track record to prove it. Since 1982, we’ve been a manufacturer of injectable-grade Hyaluronic Acid (HA), a highly viscous product that is difficult to sterile filter and fill into vials and syringes. You might know HA from its recent popularity in skin care products, but it’s also used by orthopedic surgeons and ophthalmologists for surgical use – it is in this premium, pharmaceutical-grade HA that Lifecore plays. Further, we are the only CDMO with HA fermentation capabilities, and we’re also one of the few companies with expertise in handling difficult, high-viscosity materials.
While our legacy is built upon our HA manufacturing capabilities, for many years we’ve also grown our CDMO services which help bring new injectable therapies to market. Because of the experience and expertise we’ve developed over the last 40+ years, we’re selected by pharma companies to work with some of their most complex products and challenging processes.
IPO Edge: Why is the company a strong investment?
Lifecore has maintained a long-term, blue-chip customer base with relationships that extend back 40 years. This has led to continuous partnerships which have grown over time as our customers’ products have successfully reached commercialization. This is demonstrated by our financial performance – since fiscal year 2015, we have grown revenue at a 15% compound annual rate, and EBITDA at a 25% rate.
Favorable industry trends are also fueling long-term CDMO demand, and, in turn, value for Lifecore. Broadly speaking, new drug development is on the rise, and CDMOs are contracted increasingly to support the realization of many new drugs. A large number of these drugs are injectables, and demand for pre-filled syringes is projected to outpace the greater injectable market. We’re confident in and excited about our value proposition and our potential to grow and, based upon our pipeline of projects, we anticipate a multi-year acceleration in our revenue growth rates.
IPO Edge: How big is your customer base?
The broader CDMO market is valued at $22B, with injectables making up $6B. The injectable segment alone is projected to grow at over 10% between 2020-2025. Because of our state-of-the-art facilities and technical expertise, we’re in a strong position to participate in these growth drivers in coming years with our available capacity.
IPO Edge: What is your vision for Lifecore moving forward?
Our goal is to continue to grow Lifecore’s position as a premier CDMO and HA manufacturer. We’ll do that through the expansion of our service offering to customers as well as an enhanced marketing and sales approach focused on increasing awareness of Lifecore’s capabilities among pharma companies.
We’re also looking forward to continued engagement in Minnesota as we transition our company to the region. The greater Twin Cities area, which has served as Lifecore’s headquarters for many years, has an established reputation for incubating health innovation and developing talent among local organizations and institutions. We’re pleased to have access to a technically strong, local talent pool which will strengthen our position for growth as we move forward.