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Making it big in Barranquilla - and the world

Article - December 9, 2013
Procaps, Colombia's most successful pharmaceutical company is based in Barranquilla and its success is tied into the great evolution of the city
Colombia’s spectacular growth has been more than clear over the past decade. Its regions anx cities, such as Cali and Barranquilla, continue adding value to the country by being named important investment center. In fact, Barranquilla made the Financial Times’ top-10 list of cities with the best investment future and was also named Culture Capital of America and the Golden Gate to Colombia, as it is one of most important Colombian port cities. 
 In the last few years, Barranquilla has invested greatly in infrastructure, education and basic services to offer a greater quality of life for its people. Its industrial growth has been astonishing, surpassing that of the rest of the country. Since the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, all eyes – and investments – have been on Barranquilla, the logistic platform of the country and a perfect place to take advantage of the benefits of the FTA.
 One company that has certainly made the most of the agreement is Procaps, one of the country’s main pharmaceutical laboratories. Procaps’ exports amount to around $120 million a year – representing almost half of its total income – and the company is one of Colombia’s largest exporters. Its brand reaches more than 13 countries and it develops products in 40 other countries. 
The enterprise’s biggest challenge to date has been its entry into the U.S. market. For years Procaps developed technology, invested in infrastructure, and studied the conditions and regulations of the American market. After four years of hard work, it finally got in. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved one of Procaps’ plants in Barranquilla to develop a medical prescription pharmaceutical to be sold in the United States - And with a truly remarkable achievement for the company. The product was Progesterone, a niche drug that helps fetus preservation. Procaps’ plant was the first in South America to be approved by the FDA.
The North American market is quite important to Procaps, mostly because of its size. The pharmaceutical market in Colombia is worth between $6 and $7 billion, while the American pharmaceutical market surpasses $250 billion. Even taking into account the time and investment it takes to get a drug approved by the FDA, the American market is so big that it is more than worth it. 
However, Procaps has more than just the U.S. in mind. The company is also quite active in Southeast Asia. It is planning to open offices in Singapore next year according to spokesperson for management.