Sector News

U.S. CMO buys AstraZeneca U.K. plant, saves 210 jobs

September 7, 2016
Life sciences

U.S. CMO Avara Pharmaceutical Services is on a roll, or a roll-up. It has struck a deal to buy a plant in the U.K. that AstraZeneca was set to close, saving more than 200 jobs in the process. The deal comes just weeks after Avara said it would buy the U.S. manufacturing operations of Japan’s Astellas.

Norwalk, CT-based Avara said Monday it will buy AstraZeneca’s Avlon, Avonmouth, England, API plant and hire the 210 employees. It will manufacture products for AstraZeneca on a contract basis as part of the deal. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“We are excited to have the Avlon organization join the Avara team and to add this significant capability to the Avara Company,” Avara CEO Tim Tyson said in a statement. “This exceptional facility will be the fifth site in our global network with other facilities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Ireland and now the UK.”

Marc Jones, AstraZeneca’s executive VP of supply in EMEA, thanked the AstraZeneca employees and said, “We have confidence that Avara is the right company to oversee the continuing supply of the AstraZeneca products that are made at the facility, as well as to build a long term sustainable future for the site.”

The U.K.-based drugmaker said in 2014 that it would close the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) plant in Avlon by 2017 as generics hit key products. The plant makes the APIs for high-cholesterol drug Crestor and bipolar treatment Seroquel, both now dealing with generics. AstraZeneca has closed or is closing other facilities as it remakes its manufacturing network as part of a $1.1 billion cost-cutting plan.

Last month, Avara said it was buying Astellas Pharma Technologies, the U.S. contract manufacturing operations of the Japanese company. It got a 312,153-square-foot plant in Norman, OK, and took on about 200 employees. It also struck a deal to continue to make products for Astellas.

Terms were not disclosed in that deal either, but Astellas said it will take a ¥9.0 billion ($89 million) charge in its quarter ended Sept. 30 for the loss of plant and equipment.

By Eric Palmer

Source: Fierce Pharma

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