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Catalent sells US packaging biz, focuses on formulation

By Natalie Morrison , 04-Jun-2012
Last updated the 04-Jun-2012 at 12:57 GMT

Catalent has sold its US commercial packaging business to Frazier Healthcare as part of plans to focus on “innovative pipelines”.

The news follows a dip in packaging sales reported in the firm’s Q3 results , attributed to a rising number of clients insourcing.

Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma.com, the firm’s VP of global marketing and strategy, Elliott Berger said development and advanced drug delivery technologies – specifically oral fast dissolve, softgel, controlled release and cell line engineering tech – is the new name of the game.

“In short, we are focusing on areas where we have leading expertise, capabilities and position and where the industry has the biggest need for sophisticated scientific solutions in long-term mutual partnerships,” he said.

Three-pronged attack

According to Berger, three areas in particular – oral dose forms, clinical supply solutions and biologics – are expected to be the real nuggets.

He said however, that Catalent will still retain blow-fill-seal operations at the plants – based in Philadelphia and Woodstock – which currently handle other packaging services in America.

Of growth in the oral dose arena, he told us: “One is drug development and delivery for challenging oral dose forms, particularly in areas of enhancing bioavailability, therapeutic, release or delivery profiles. Accordingly we made investments into new technologies like OptiMelt hot melt extrusion, including an alliance with BASF .”

He added that an increase in the number of large global clinical trials means big bucks for big clinical trials suppliers like Catalent, saying: “After our Aptuit CTS acquisition and other investments into our facilities in the US, UK and Germany, we are strongly positioned to benefit from and even drive this trend.”

And with a trend towards the biologics development area, Berger said the company’s new focus on biologics development includes a new US facility in Wisconsin, aimed at integrating its GPEx cell line engineering tech with its biomanufacturing, bioanalytics and fill & finish solutions.

Emerging plans

As for the near future, Catalent confirmed it will launch a range of new services in the areas of nanotech, challenging APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients), and delivery and manufacturing processes.

The key regions for growth? “We are also rapidly globalising our business, with particular focus on Asia Pacific and Brazil,” said Berger.

“The industry is grappling with significant challenges in delivering a strong pipeline of innovative treatments that meet the needs of patients, doctors and payers globally. Our technologies and solutions are focused on providing solutions for these tough challenges.”

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