There is not only the ReiThera vaccine to catapult Italy to the forefront in the fight against Covid-19. In St. Petersburg, in the factories of Biocad which produces the now famous Sputnik V, the group’s packaging lines are running at full capacity Marchesini di Pianoro (Bologna), one of the world leaders in pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging. They are manufactured in Italy, at Corima di Monteriggioni, which is the division of the company that deals with machinery to prepare injectable products, guaranteeing the total asepticity of the process, a fundamental aspect for drugs such as anticancer drugs and vaccines.
Marchesini’s mission in Russia
«The trip to Russia is the last trip I made, last March, a few days after the lockdown – remember now Pietro Cassani, CEO of Marchesini -. The owner of Biocad warned me not to underestimate that virus: when I returned to Italy I was forced to agree with him ». The high technology and the extreme flexibility of Marchesini machines, the result of continuous investments in innovation, which are worth about 8% of a turnover of 450 million euros, have allowed the Russians to quickly convert the vaccine line. «Our other machines are installed in companies that produce the vaccine for AstraZeneca e per Johnson&Johnson – Cassani continues -. And we still have projects in Latin America for anti-Covid vaccines ».
The history of Marchesini: 2,400 employees
The company from the Emilian packaging valley, born in 1974 from an idea by Massimo Marchesini and still owned by the family, with 2,400 employees, an export equal to 90% of revenues and a presence in 116 countries, also through 14 companies foreign subsidiaries, it is among the big global companies in terms of production size, but is a leader in the vaccine packaging sector, starting with the anti-flu. “Today we make multidose bottles for the anti-Covid vaccine but we have already developed a line that goes towards single-dose packaging, which could also be used in this phase”.
Anticipating needs and always being ready for market demands is a philosophy of the group. «In 2020 the production and packaging of supplements also contributed to the good result of the company – recalls Cassani -, the consumption of which has increased, especially in strengthening the immune system. The other issue we monitor is monoclonal therapy (with which former US President Trump was treated, in Italy under experimentation). Some of our lines are present in Latina, in the Bsp plant, which carries out this treatment. I think it is a way to take into consideration, to try to defeat the virus as quickly as possible: speed is everything to restart the economy. Even if the pharmaceutical is fine right now, suppliers can get into trouble. No sector can be considered a happy island. Open-mindedness and incisiveness are needed, but everything that is in the field against Covid must be proved, it is not enough to rely on a single technology “.
Openness and incisiveness are also the characteristics of Marchesini’s growth: 20 acquisitions in the last four years and revenues doubled in the same period. A family business (president is Maurizio Marchesini, son of the founder) which becomes a large multinational, but firmly holds production in Italy. «Producing here is a winning choice – says Cassani -: not only because we are technically competent, but we are also more productive than we think, and then of course we are innovators. The important thing is to have an infrastructure and invest, never stand still. For example, we have acquired a Milanese artificial intelligence company and invested in software, in companies that collect data and traceability, and we focus a lot on continuous employee training. All the companies we have acquired are Italian, they make machines for both pharma, such as Cmp, a Vicenza-based company specializing in inspection systems for pharma, which are now also crucial for anti-Covid vaccines, and for cosmetics ».
The other soul of Marchesini is worth 10% of revenues, which are growing. “We have acquired Cosmatic, specialized in technologies for the production of lipsticks and in the filling of cosmetic powders, born in the Lombard cosmetics district,” says the CEO. For the Bolognese group, 2021 will be marked by the consolidation, with a particular eye on the beauty division, of 5,000 square meters of new plants in the Pianoro headquarters. “It’s true, masks have in some ways reduced the purchase of lipsticks and make-up, but beauty is a resilient sector and for us Cosmatic is a very interesting partner, one of the few Italian companies with such know-how. particular – explains Cassani -. The goal is to create entire production lines to perform all operations, from the product process to packaging. We have other acquisitions in mind ». Hiring is also planned. “We are looking for technicians, engineers and experts, mechanical and electronic designers, dynamic and enterprising, complete figures”, explains Cassani. Do many resumes arrive? «Not as many as we would like: we are always looking for talents to grow. And we would like more women, fundamental for their determination, sensitivity, creativity ». One last line to imagine the group’s tomorrow. Cassani recalls that «years ago we evaluated the listing. But we are convinced that growth does not necessarily interest us, there is the risk of distorting the goodness of Marchesini’s entrepreneurial mechanism. We need a harmonious growth: strength and harmony, as in a human being ».