Interviewing Maurizio Catanese, General Manager at Humana Pharma International, a company specializing in the development and production of nutritional supplements, cosmetics and medical devices, with a modular and flexible full-service for all phases of development and production

Giovanni Bernuzzi

Founded in 1995, HPI (Humana Pharma International Spa) is structured in two divisions: Dietetic Division and Cosmetic Division, which develop and produce nutritional supplements, cosmetics and medical devices, with strong specialization in baby care and dermatologic cosmetics. «HPI has extensive experience in the manufacture of nutritional supplements and cosmetics intended for young children, says Maurizio Catanese, General Manager at HPI – having as majority shareholder Humana Italia, Italian leading company for child nutrition. But it also has a strong focus in contract manufacturing since half of its turnover comes from clients outside the group. We are talking about clients, including many major multinationals, which usually sell their products in drugstores and promote them through medical scientific information among doctors. In the past two years, however, in the corporate structure of Humana Italy and HPI many changes have taken place. In particular HPI has become part of DMK, the biggest German dairy company, due to the merger between Humana Milchunion and Nordmilch».

What are the strategic objectives of this operation? With about 5 billion Euros turnover, more than 20 production sites spread across Germany and more than 5,000 employees, DMK is the biggest dairy group in Germany, sixth in Europe and tenth in the world. Within this group, which has more than 11,000 farmer members, the DMK Baby Division has been created in 2012. The ambition of the DMK Baby Division, is to be a leading Baby Food player in selected Markets with the Humana brand. The 3 main pillars are Infant Milk Formula, Weaning Food and Nutritional Supplements & Cosmetics. Humana Pharma International is the hub for Nutritional Supplements & Cosmetics of the DMK Baby division. Humana Pharma International, in this new Baby focused set up, aims at being the partner of choice for high growth high margin specialized nutritional supplements and cosmetics.

In this regard, how do you manage Quality Control? Quality policy is one of the fundamental aspects of positive and lasting trust relationship we build with each client, with the goal of full and complete customer satisfaction. The company is Iso 9001, ISO 13485, GMP certified and as it exports products in the USA, it has also been inspected several times by FDA. HPI provides a comprehensive system of internal controls during all phases of the supply chain, from the analysis of raw materials to proper cleaning and sanitizing of machines, from systems’ maintenance and process equipment to the drafting of water technical specifications internally accepted, from analyses on each semi-finished product to certification of finished products. Even the stages of primary and secondary packaging are subject to careful controls, always ensuring the traceability of batches. Quality Assurance establishes and maintains quality procedures capable of ensuring control over the whole production chain, including relationships with clients and suppliers. The R & D, instead, deals with the development of new formulations and related notifications to the Ministry of Health.

Who are your clients and which service do you provide? HPI serves with a targeted and customized approach according to the specific needs of each client’s type, size and location, from multinationals to small and medium businesses. And we can add, with legitimate satisfaction, that many of our clients were small and have become great thanks to our collaboration which is a global service, an authentic full-service and not just words, that goes from product design to distribution, from packaging to delivery to various distributors. In detail, HPI produces or distributes semi-finished products for third parties; it manufactures products entirely made by third-party companies or wholly designed by HPI; it packages the products in tubes, jars of various kinds, single-dose and multi-dose vials, in PVC, PET, PE and glass; it packages powders in coupled or single sachets; it develops new formulations and notifies them at the Ministry of Health; it provides marketing and communication advice, studying customized packaging and graphic solutions. In practice, the service we are requested is typically one of the following types: full service for a product that is already on the market or to be developed from the beginning, or a single service which may be only development, primary or secondary packaging or other individual services related to the product to be marketed. Whether it’s a full or modular service according to requests, HPI ensures all its customers quickness and punctuality in deliveries, flexibility in lots, versatility in processing and, as already noted, unexceptionable quality of products.

What is HPI’s current production capacity? HPI has two production sites, one for the Dietetic Division and one for the Cosmetic Division, both located in Milano, Italy.Overall, the annual output of Dietetic Division is about 25 million single-dose vials and 5 million multi-dose for liquids, while for powders it is around 150 tons of semi-finished product, namely about 30 million sachets. Processed batches can be of any size, from the smallest to the largest. Concerning hourly output, the production of the two single lines is 8,000/9,000 pcs/h each, and that of the two multi-dose lines ranges from 500 to 2,500 pcs/h (syrups, no gas sprays, aqueous and oily solutions). The bulk for multi-dose line ranges from 100 to 1,200 liters and the one for single-dose lines from 650 to 1,600 liters for industrial production and from 50 to 150 for pilot lots. For powders the production of the two lines is respectively 6,600 and 18,000 pcs/h (1 to 8-10 g sachets, single or double). The bulk of powders ranges from 100 to 650 kg for sachets and from 10 to 100 kg for the cap of single-dose vials. Moreover the Cosmetic Division has turbo emulsifiers ranging from 500 to 5000 l for production and from 5 to 50 l for the R & D laboratory. Products (lotions, smooth creams, pastes, gels, soaps, shampoo, shower-bath gel, oils, emulsions, etc.) are packaged in tubes from 10 to 250 ml, in bottles from 50 to 1,000 ml, in vases from 150 to 500 ml.


HPI has developed two innovative patented technologies: SDC ® (Smart Delivery Cap) is a CAP that can contain and preserve up to 350 mg of active ingredients, ideal for probiotics, vitamins and plant extracts. Vicap, a patent of the Swiss company with the same name, is produced exclusively by HPI for Nutrition Pharma as unique distributor. It is a sport cap, with higher capacity than the SDC, and it contains liquids or powders. It is ideal for making extemporary solutions with the convenience of being able to drink through the push-cap and drink. The chamber in the cap allows preserving the active ingredients and protects them from external influences (UV, humidity) by mixing them to the liquid phase only at the time of use. Up to 12 ml solution can be dosed (ex. fresh juices, pulps, detoxifying or draining formulas, etc.) or up to 7 g of powder, the latter according to apparent volume, smoothness and the need to add other ingredients (probiotics, amino acids, proteins, dried extracts, etc.). The cap diameter is 38 mm and the bottles can have a capacity from 125 ml to 1 liter. It is also possible to design one’s own bottle and customize it.


HPI (Humana Pharma International S.pA.) develops and manufactures nutritional supplements, cosmetics and medical devices offering a full service able to globally cover design, development, industrialization, production, warehouse and product management also for regulatory reporting. Founded in 1995 as a production company for the companies of Humana group, it soon turned also to its external market, both in Italy and abroad, and today about 25% of its turnover results from exports. For two years it has been part of DMK (great German dairy group with about 5 billion Euros turnover) within which in 2012 the DMK Baby Division was created, specialized in Baby and Infant Nutrition.