Based in Normandy, France, Olivier Gorius is the vice general manager at Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he oversees insulin production and purification. Olivier has a Ph.D. in natural chemistry and a long tenure in the pharmaceutical industry, including previous work experience at Pfizer.
“I joined the insulin industry in 2008, specifically drawn to the interesting challenge it presented,” said Olivier. “Insulin is a notoriously tough molecule to produce—but beyond production, we’re faced with a twofold concern. First is effectively keeping up with widespread pharmaceutical requirements, such as compliance, and the second is ensuring we produce the truest form of pure insulin as possible.”
Olivier works at an Amphastar site, which has been producing insulin since 1966, nearly the beginning of the commercial insulin business. His company has a unique history when compared to competitors that frequently move sites.
Although the insulin market is dominated by three major players, Olivier’s company has the unique ability to tap into smaller niche markets, like South America, and nimbly serve customers to meet their specific needs. Pioneering another emerging market, Olivier’s team is leading the way in the development of animal insulin for diabetic pets. While other pet-specific insulin products on the market use a form of human insulin, Olivier’s
team at Amphastar is the only supplier in the world that can exactly match the dog insulin molecule.
Beyond the intellectual challenge that Olivier appreciates in his day-to-day work, he recalls several personal moments that help him find satisfaction and fulfillment in his role. “Every year on November 14, we recognize World Diabetes Day, which serves as a reminder that our work is not solely about a molecule but rather about people—and helping them live longer healthier lives,” said Olivier. “Also, two years ago, we had a diabetic patient visit us to tell us about how their daily life is affected by diabetes. Putting
faces to the people we help and knowing that our work makes a difference is really rewarding.”
Olivier’s first introduction to Phenomenex came 10-15 years ago when his team was looking to improve their insulin purification process. After several collaborative discussions, Phenomenex helped by not only providing materials like cryptographic silica but also doing trials for Amphastar.
“Our relationship with Phenomenex has lasted a long time,” said Olivier. “We appreciate their professionalism and, particularly, their very high degree of technical knowledge. They’re not only sellers in the market but also experts in science, and you can talk to them about the problems you’re facing. Our relationship has never been transactional, and I really appreciate that about Phenomenex.”