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Aesica hopes R5 purchase is formula for successful growth

By Gareth Macdonald , 06-Jul-2010

UK API maker Aesica has bought formulation firm R5 Pharmaceuticals, continuing the expansion strategy it has employed over the last few years.

Nottingham-headquartered R5, which will operate as an Aesica subsidiary, develops pharmaceutical formulations for Phase I and II clinical trials, ranging from solid-dose tablets and capsules to liquids and injectables.

The acquisition, the third major UK purchase behind the manufacturing sites Aesica bought from Abbott and Merck & Co in recent years, is focused around boosting the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) maker’s drug formulation capacity.

The move is in keeping with comments Aesica CEO Robert Hardy made in May, when he told NeBusiness the firm planned to make acquisitions in Europe and the US to keep up with drug industry demand for outsourced formulation development.

And, in a press statement accompanying the R5 announcement, Hardy explained that a key motivation for the deal was “[R5’s] proven track record in delivering early phase formulation development and its reputation within the emerging biotechnology industry was of particular interest.”

He also said the move was a “strategically crucial” step in Aesica’s efforts to become a “leading supplier of APIs and formulated products to the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.”

New US office

But, while the R5 takeover is strong evidence of Aesica’s desire to grow in Europe, the firm is also keen to expand its operations on the other side of the Atlantic.

Earlier this year Aesica opened new units in New Jersey and San Diego, US in an effort to expand the proportion of business that comes from customers in North America, which currently around 45 per cent.

The US move was flagged up by commercial director Adam Sims during an in-Pharmatechnologist interview in February , who explained the aim was to generate 50 per cent of Aesica’s revenues in the country in the next few years.

These expansions, coupled with the office in Shanghai, China that Aesica established in 2008, leave the UK group with a presence in key pharmaceutical markets worldwide.

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