Chemistry & Life Sciences

Farsighted Outsourcing Solutions

Swiss Contract Manufacturer Frike Combines Tradition and Innovation

18.10.2023 - André Keller, CEO Frike Group, explains his strategic goals and market observations in the interview

Frike Group is a traditional Swiss family business founded in 1944 by Fritz Keller. The group offers a versatile range of services in contract manufacturing in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and chemical sectors at five production sites in Switzerland. The holding company is headquartered in Mönchaltorf in the canton of Zurich. The group of companies includes Frike Pharma, Frike Chemicals, Frike Cosmetics, Frike Aerosol and Glaropharm. Development and production is carried out exclusively for customers, which means that Frike remains a neutral and independent contract manufacturer that does not offer any private labels. Birgit Megges asked André Keller, CEO of the Frike Group, about his strategic goals and market observations.

CHEManager: Mr. Keller, you have been managing Frike Group for more than 30 years in the second generation. Can you briefly summarize the group's core competencies?

André Keller: We see ourselves as a specialized partner for outsourcing solutions for individual requirements. As an independent and financially sound family business with an entrepreneurial spirit, we have the advantage that decisions can be made and implemented quickly. This allows us to offer our partners a high degree of flexibility and reliability in deliveries. In order to grow together with our customers, we are also ready to make investments in machines, technologies and capacities. The necessary certifications and approvals such as Swiss Medic GMP, FDA, ECO Swiss, ISO 9001/22716 and SOP standards are available.

The competition in the market for contract manufacturers is fierce. How would you describe your survival strategy?

A. Keller: We have established partnerships with our customers, and we are working on them in order to start new projects from time to time. Especially as a contract manufacturer, you have to differentiate yourself in your offering. This means being able to accompany the customer from the start of the project. At the same time, there are always new regulatory requirements, and here it is important to act in good time together with our partners in order to be able to place the products on the market in accordance with the requirements.


„Especially as a contract manufacturer,
you have to differentiate yourself
in your offering.“



How have the demands of your customers and partners on your services changed in recent years?

A. Keller: We are increasingly confronted with regulatory issues and further approvals are required here, such as from the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency Anvisa, Saudi Arabia or also Korea. However, these also help us to differentiate ourselves in the market and to be able to offer customers added value.

How are you evolving your offering to continue to meet customer needs?

A. Keller: To this end, we have established a development department in order to be able to react to new requirements at an early stage together with our partners, for example with necessary recipe changes or by changing raw materials due to regulatory requirements. With this setup, we can accompany the customer from the beginning of the project. Starting with the development and input of our know-how in galenics, the production of small quantities for clinical trials, the upscaling into production and at the end the transfer into the commercial process.

The requirements in the pharmaceutical environment are particularly high. How can you support your customers in projects here?

A. Keller: Our approach has given us a great deal of expertise with regard to GMP requirements, and we have built up a special project tool in particular. Together with defined responsibilities, fast transfers to the Frike Group are possible.

How do you see the use of outsourcing services developing in Europe and worldwide over the next few years? Do you see any differences in individual product areas?


„We continue to see very good opportunities
for CDMO services.“



A. Keller: We continue to see very good opportunities for CDMO services, because the large pharmaceutical groups are also taking advantage of them and are repeatedly awarding outsourcing projects. The European market is interesting, also for pharmaceutical groups from other regions. With the relocation of production to the European region and the resulting proximity to the market, outsourcing is increasingly being considered. Supply chains are thus shortened and possible market entry opportunities can be realized.

You serve national and international customers. In the long term, are you considering buying or developing sites outside Switzerland?

A. Keller: We are always interested in opportunities here and have looked at them in the past. Our focus is definitely on overall growth, whether through organic or inorganic growth.

Currently, all companies have to face numerous economic and geopolitical influences.

What challenges are you focusing on and how are you dealing with them?

A. Keller: The current geopolitical situation is, of course, great concern in our environment. The challenge is to filter out relevant information from the multitude of news and media. After all, this is the only way to identify what is important for one's own corporate goals. Acting comes before reacting here. At this point, it was and is important for us to maintain the supply chains and focus on energy costs in order to be able to continue to carry out our customers' productions and orders to the standard demanded of us.

André Keller
has been managing the Frike Group in the second generation for 43 years. The trained chemical laboratory technician initially focused on technical aspects in the company, followed by a commercial education. Keller was given responsibility at a very early stage and took on management tasks in the technical area at the beginning. At the same time, he pushed ahead with his management training, so that he was able to take over the management of the company at a young age.


Frike Pharma AG

Auenstrasse 11
8617 Mönchaltorf