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Piramals To Invest More In US Custom Manufacturing Space

The latest $25 million investment is on the back of fast growing sterile (injections, ophthalmic solutions etc) market in the US

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Piramal Pharma Solutions, the custom manufacturing arm of the pharma-to-finance Piramal Enterprises group, plans to invest an additional $25 million (Rs 167.5 crore) in its drug manufacturing facilities at Lexington in Kentucky, US. This contract manufacturing site of Piramal Pharma is a provider of sterile (injections, ophthalmic solutions etc.) drug development and manufacturing services and the additional investment is for capacity building on account of increasing market demand in the US and Europe.

The investment plan focuses on expanding the Lexington site capabilities and capacity for commercial aseptic manufacturing. This will be done by increasing vial filling capability and lyophilisation capacity, as well as upgrades to the associated facilities and utilities, the company said on Wednesday (3rd August).

The Lexington site of the company currently has a strong pipeline of products which are expected to be commercialized in next 3 to 5 years. Besides, the fast growing sterile market in the US, recent consolidations in the custom manufacturing space and shut down of many manufacturing sites in the US, has also created a big demand for quality manufacturers in the sterile segment.

The injectible drugs market in the US and Europe is growing at a healthy rate of 11 per cent and the contract manufacturing segment in this space is growing at 13 per cent annually.

“Piramal believes that it can take advantage of the market situation and grow its Lexington business multi-fold,” says the CEO (Pharma Solutions) Vivek Sharma.

“Since our initial investment the Kentucky site has demonstrated both leadership and growth, we are now pleased to announce this next phase of investment to enhance capability and capacity, he added.

According to Sharma, the phase-1 of the expansion of the Lexington facility will add a new manufacturing suite including a high speed vial filling machine that provides controlled and safe environment for handling potent materials with an advantage of automated vial washing and sterilization.

“Also as part of the first phase of expansion, Piramal will install new isolator based vial filler in its existing manufacturing suite, which is a newer technology and considered much higher in quality standards,” he said.

The phase 1 and 2 combined, the expansion will increase the company’s vial filling capabilities by more than five-fold, the company said.

“We are extremely excited to initiate this expansion and continue the company’s vision of becoming the premier aseptic manufacturing service provider that began with the acquisition of Coldstream Laboratories,” said Bill Wedlake, president of Piramal Pharma Solutions Formulations Business.

Piramal Enterprises, which sold its Indian pharmaceutical formulations business in 2010 to US drug maker Abbott Laboratories in a landmark deal worth Rs 17500 crore, has been focussing on custom or contract manufacturing of bulk drugs as well as formulations for clients both in India and abroad. As part of this growing business, the group had set up as well as acquired several manufacturing facilities in the Europe as well as US.

In January 2015, the group had invested $30.65 million towards acquiring Coldstream Laboratories Inc through its wholly owned subsidiary in the US in an all cash transaction as part of expanding its contract manufacturing business in the US.

Piramal Enterprises (formerly known as Piramal Healthcare) is currently one of India’s large diversified companies, with a presence in healthcare, healthcare information management and financial services. The Ajay Piramal-led group’s consolidated revenues were around $1 billion in financial year 2016. Of this, 61 per cent is contributed by international markets.

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