John Graham, Zuellig Pharma Group CEO, Explores Strategic Partnership with Substipharm Biologics to Transform Healthcare in Asia

05 February 2024 | Monday | Interaction

Interview with John Graham, Group CEO, Zuellig Pharma, on Expanding Access and Addressing Public Health Challenges

In an insightful interview with BioPharma APAC, John Graham, Group CEO of Zuellig Pharma, shares details about the strategic partnership with Substipharm Biologics, aiming to revolutionize the healthcare landscape in Asia. The expansion of the commercialization agreement, with a focus on innovative vaccines, reflects a joint commitment to delivering life-saving products to communities in need. Graham discusses the decision-making process, regulatory navigation, and the pivotal role the partnership plays in addressing significant health concerns like Japanese Encephalitis. With a strong emphasis on expanding access to healthcare, the interview provides insights into how Zuellig Pharma plans to leverage its expertise through ZP Therapeutics to support Substipharm Biologics in marketing and distributing innovative vaccines across diverse markets in Asia.


What drove the decision to expand the commercialisation agreement with Substipharm Biologics for innovative vaccines across Asia, including the addition of new markets like Taiwan?


Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable encephalitis in Asia and the western Pacific, with an estimated three billion people living in countries where the JE virus (JEV) is reported. Due to increasing vaccine use and stronger national immunisation programmes, annual JE case counts have declined substantially over the past decades. 


However, JE remains a public health problem in several countries within Asia with a lack of treatment, except for the preventative protection provided by vaccines. Expanding access to such healthcare solutions is therefore crucial for the region.  


As a leading healthcare solutions company, we recognise the importance of continued access to high-quality, affordable vaccines for communities who need them most. The decision to expand the commercialisation agreement with Substipharm Biologics was driven by a shared vision for delivering life-saving, innovative products for populations in Asia, and was bolstered by Zuellig Pharma’s extensive and proven in-market expertise in warehousing and distribution (W&D),  industry-leading cold chain management, as well as our standards of excellence in ethics and compliance.

How does Zuellig Pharma plan to navigate the diverse healthcare landscapes and regulatory environments in the expanded markets to ensure effective marketing, distribution, and support for innovative vaccines?


Asia is a region with a complex and diverse healthcare landscape that requires an evolving process of continuous improvement. We work closely with industry associations and local regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with changing regulations and collaborate with our partners at every stage of the regulatory process to ensure they are up-to-date and compliant. 


Our regulatory affairs teams in the markets we are present in are well-equipped with the capabilities to navigate evolving regulatory processes and accelerate market access for patients in Asia. We understand the healthcare landscape innately and leverage data analytics, regulatory intelligence and pharmacovigilance expertise to provide end-to-end services from registration planning to post-approval for drugs and medical devices, among other healthcare services.


We also plan to continue to provide support through our extensive distribution network leveraging our cold chain capabilities and strong understanding of the healthcare landscape in Asia. As a leading healthcare solutions company, we remain committed to our goal of expanding access to healthcare and meeting evolving healthcare needs in the region. 

In addressing Japanese Encephalitis as a significant health concern in Asia, how does Zuellig Pharma envision the partnership contributing to public health goals, especially in regions where the disease poses a serious threat?


JE remains a significant public health concern in many countries within the region despite declining case counts over the past decades. Developing countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar may even experience an increase in disease incidence without specific diagnostic centres or targeted national immunisation programmes. Routine immunisation and the availability of a safe and affordable vaccine are two foremost methods that can ensure that populations remain protected against the disease. The World Health Organisation in particular advocates vaccination and routine immunisation programmes as a way to counter JE.

How does Zuellig Pharma, particularly through ZP Therapeutics, plan to leverage its expertise to support Substipharm Biologics in the marketing and distribution of innovative vaccines? What specific capabilities will be utilised?


As a trusted partner for healthcare commercialisation, ZP Therapeutics has a proven track record across a diverse range of capabilities, including regulatory affairs, medical affairs, marketing, market access and sales excellence, among others. This expertise will be critical in developing pragmatic, regulatory solutions to assist in bringing greater access to medical services and products to communities in need. 


Zuellig Pharma also has established and longstanding relationships with likeminded partners, with a healthcare partner network covering 90,000 pharmacies, drugstores, 30,000 stores and various hospital channels across 13 markets in ASEAN, which will be critical in expanding access across the region.  


Our deep expertise in vaccines, and capabilities both in commercialisation as well as the expertise we can lend healthcare professionals, will ensure that critical support is available for patients in rural areas where JE is a serious threat. 







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