Biovail Corporation demonstrates the potential of Barbados as a business base for an innovative company. Biovail’s predecessor company was founded in 1987, and in 1991, organized its main operating subsidiary (now known as Biovail Laboratories International SRL or BLS) in Barbados. Today, Biovail is ranked Canada’s largest publicly traded pharmaceuticals enterprise and, in 2008, achieved US$757 million (€542.1 million) in annual revenues.
BLS owns, manages and controls Biovail’s intellectual property that underlies the Company’s products. It performs all of the activities that are involved with owning and exploiting a substantial intellectual property portfolio; and it performs strategic planning and decisionmaking. “We also manage the supply chain and distribute to our partners in Canada and the US,” says Bill Wells, President of BLS and Chief Executive Officer of Biovail.
Explaining why a Canadian enterprise chose to establish operations in Barbados, Bill Wells says, “The tax structure and business environment are transparent, the courts work, the government is pro-business, and Barbados has a quality educated work force. There are regular international air connections and Barbados is a very attractive place to live.”
Biovail is involved in the formulation, clinical testing, registration, manufacture and commercialisation of pharmaceutical products for distribution mainly in the US (which accounts for approximately 90% of the corporation’s sales) and Canada. Biovail specialises in drugs used in the treatment of neurological conditions. Bill Wells explains, “The core of our strategy is to operate in an area of the marketplace, specialty neurology, with high opportunity and good growth rates.” Biovail received the 2009 Corporate Award from the National Organisation for Rare Disorders for the development of Xenazine® to treat chorea in association with Huntington’s disease.
Open to new collaborations
Biovail recently acquired worldwide rights to tetrabenazine from a UK company, Cambridge Laboratories (Ireland) Ltd., and purchased the US distribution rights for Welbutrin XL from GlaxoSmithKline. Biovail supplies tetrabenazine, the only authorised treatment for Huntington’s chorea, to Lundbeck Inc. for commercialisation in the US under the Xenazine brand name. Xenazine is the only FDA-approved product for the treatment of any symptom of Huntington’s disease – a neurodegenerative disease that affects approximately 25,000 people in the US. In addition, Biovail recently entered into a collaboration and license agreement with ACADIA Pharmaceuticals for pimavanserin – a new chemical entity currently in Phase III development for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease psychosis, or PDP. “Biovail focuses on conditions for which there are insufficient or no treatments. We are a credible player in specialty neurology and an active player in terms of licensing and acquiring products,” Bill Wells explains. Biovail is always open to new collaborations, including working with marketing partners in Europe in the future.
An exemplary corporate citizen, Biovail supports many community service projects in Barbados and has made a long-term commitment to the island. Bill Wells concludes, “Barbados is a great business environment, and Biovail serves as a good example of a company which is contributing to the overall image of the country.”