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Catalent and Lonza's Imbruvica contracts safe says AbbVie, post $21bn acq

Dan Stanton

By Dan Stanton+

27-May-2015
Last updated on 27-May-2015 at 14:57 GMT2015-05-27T14:57:04Z

Lonza and Catalent make components of cancer drug Imbruvica, now acquired from Pharmacyclics for $21bn by AbbVie
Lonza and Catalent make components of cancer drug Imbruvica, now acquired from Pharmacyclics for $21bn by AbbVie

AbbVie has closed the acquisition of Pharmacyclics and confirms it will continue to outsource manufacture the oncology drug Imbruvica.

First announced in March , AbbVie announced yesterday it had completed the $21bn (€19bn) acquisition of California-based firm Pharmacyclics.

Pharmacyclics’ sole approved product is the BTK-inhibitor Imbruvica (ibrutinib) used to treat hematological cancers which clocked in sales of $480m in 2014.

Without its own facilities, Pharmacyclics had relied on contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs), but with AbbVie having a number of production plants Outsourcing-Pharma looked into whether the new owners may take Imbrivica in-house.

Lonza has supplied the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for Imbruvica since February 2013, and when asked how the merger would affect this contract, a spokesman for the CMO Dominik Werner said it “is simply too early to assess.”

Catalent, which entered into an agreement to provide commercial supply of the fully formulated drug in May 2013 later that year to service the contract, could not comment on individual client contracts when asked.

But both firms along with a number of other unnamed suppliers of Imbruvica materials can rest assured for now, as AbbVie spokesperson Erica Jefferson confirmed to us “there are currently no plans to change any of the operations or manufacturing related to Imbruvica.”

Lonza had been involved in the development of Imbruvica since it began making the API for Phase I trials. The commercial supply contract is set at a fixed number of years, an according to Pharmacyclics’ annual report , will automatically be extended unless either party interject.

Catalent’s agreement included a build-out agreement of its facility in Kansas City in November 2013, and Pharmacyclics –now AbbVie – is obliged to buy the product on a rolling five-year contract.

Pharmacyclics will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of AbbVie, based at its current Sunnydale, California headquarters.

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