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Guy Villax

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Class of 2021, Portugal

Guy Villax, CEO of Hovione

Saving lives is the driving force behind family pharma business Hovione.

Photographic portrait of Guy Villax

Guy Villax

In 1984, Guy Villax joined pharmaceutical services pioneer Hovione in Asia. Needing capacity to supply the US market and seeing the opportunity of raw materials from China, he built a plant in Macau. When he perceived that customers did not value the quality of Hovione’s products, he migrated the business to harder-to-make active ingredients for injectable delivery and added a services business that later grew into the company’s largest, fastest-growing and most profitable business segment.

Since being appointed CEO in 1997, Guy has continued to take Hovione from strength to strength, growing the company tenfold and reaching a business valuation of over US$1b. Each decade he reinvented the company by finding a new gap in the market to fill: when emerging small pharmas needed lab and factory space, Hovione offered its services; when new molecules were not viable because they were insoluble, the company made them into amorphous spray-dried dispersions.

Guy believes that serving patients is a privilege. Of all the new medicines approved by the US FDA since 2015, Hovione has had a role in the process development or manufacturing of 8%: cures for Hepatitis C and treatments for HIV/AIDS, cancers and cystic fibrosis. Hovione now has 1,998 team members and was the first pharmaceutical or chemical company to be certified as a B Corp.