Loures, Portugal, December 11th, 2008 - Hovione announced today that it has agreed with Pfizer to acquire their Loughbeg Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) site in Ireland. This site manufactures intermediates for Lipitor active pharmaceutical ingredient.
The site has had a number of owners starting in 1984 with Angus Fine Chemicals, then Hickson & Welch, Warner Lambert, Pfizer and now Hovione. Over the last 10 years Pfizer has invested several hundred million dollars in plant and equipment there, making it a modern, well equipped site, meeting the highest standards in the industry. The deal is scheduled to be completed by early April 2009. Hovione Cork will employ 70-80 staff and will, over the next 24 months be transferring products from its Loures, Portugal site and validating processes for new compounds in expectation of drug approval. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed but Hovione will continue to provide manufacturing services for Pfizer.
"We made clinical trial materials for over 40 drug candidates last year. We have been investing heavily in R&D for over 6 years and now have a strong development pipe-line but have not invested in manufacturing assets since 2001, so it was time that we expanded our manufacturing capacity. This site offers everything that our Customers might want: large scale capacity, the highest standards, in a location where tax benefits are available to them and a well trained, innovative work-force" said Miguel Calado, CFO. The plant adds 427m3 of capacity to Hovione's 810m3 - of which 400m3 are in Portugal and the remainder in China. The plant is multi-purpose and is able to address a large number of specialized chemistries such as hydrogenation and low temperature chemistry. The Cork site also provides Hovione with a new, €70m capability to produce spray-dried formulations. Hovione is the world's leading provider of GMP spray-drying services covering every scale (lab, pilot and several intermediate production scales) and is able to provide R&D support and commercial manufacturing.
At a time when most fine chemical producers are investing in Asia, Hovione is turning to Ireland. Cork has the highest concentration of API production anywhere in the world, with a vast and deep talent pool, with an excellent cGMP record with the health authorities since the mid-nineties. These sites belong to Large Pharma, companies that are now embracing outsourcing as a key part of their long-term manufacturing strategy. Hovione believes that having the right kind of capacity in Cork will help it better serve its Innovator customers when it comes to making APIs for their new product introductions. "We have been manufacturing in China for over 25 years - we know very well what China can do for the Pharma industry, but we also know what it can't do - and it is for those reasons that we are now in Cork" said Guy Villax, Chief Executive, "The Cork site, the New Jersey Technology Transfer Centre, Loures in Portugal and Taizhou and Macau in China now provide Hovione with the right range of capabilities in the correct geographies - every site meets FDA requirements for APIs but every site is suited to a different and well defined mission" he added.
Pharma manufacturing needs to become lean and cost-effective and this is always a challenge. The outsourcing business model gives manufacturers a head start, as contractors can provide their services to any Innovator company for any product and thus benefit from lower risk, better utilization of facilities and scale. In addition, the contractor can select those compounds that have a good fit with its plant's technical capabilities, in turn the pharma company can avoid the expensive plant modifications often required to manufacture these compounds. It is this ability to produce for anyone that will contribute to making compounds fast and less expensively to the benefit of all stake-holders. However achieving this goal requires the ability to produce multiple small production campaigns -many simultaneously-, the skill to do rapid change-overs with validated cleaning, multi-purpose equipment design and lay-out that operate within a quality system specially designed for high levels of compliance yet of simple execution. This is what Hovione will be able to bring to the Cork site. "The combination of Hovione's 50 years of experience in API manufacture and contract manufacturing and the capabilities of the existing plant and compliance tradition of the Cork colleagues are a winning combination", said Noé Carreira, VP Manufacturing.
Hovione is an international group specializing in the development and compliant manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients, serving exclusively the pharmaceutical industry. With a 50-year track record, Hovione offers advanced technologies as well as APIs for all drug delivery systems, from oral to injectable and from inhalation to topical applications. With FDA inspected plants in Europe, the Far East and the US, Hovione is committed to the highest levels of service and quality. Specializing in complex chemistry and in particle engineering, Hovione offers all services related to the development, manufacture and pre-formulation of both new chemical entities (NCEs) and existing APIs for off-patent products.