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update #2

East coast CMOs relatively unscathed by Superstorm Sandy

By Gareth Macdonald , 31-Oct-2012

The full impact of Superstorm Sandy is still being assessed, but early reports suggest that the East coast contract manufacturing industry has escaped relatively unscathed.

Sandy struck the US East coast earlier this week causing flooding, blackouts, fires and – according to reports - as many as 33 deaths. It also forced presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to temporarily halt their campaigning efforts, took out communications and disrupted transportation.

US drug giant Pfizer – which is headquartered in New York – was one of a number of organisations to delay its quarterly results presentation, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) postponed various meetings  it was due to hold as a result of the disruption.

The US East coast is a hub for pharmaceutical contract manufacturing organisations (CMO) most of which are still assessing the Sandy’s impact.

At the time of publication Outsourcing-pharma.com had heard reports from Catalent, Lonza and DPT labs.

Catalent spokesperson Patricia McGee told us that none of its sites had been impacted, while Melanie Disa from Lonza said the firm’s mammalian biotherapeutics plant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire suffered “some minor roof damage but nothing that impacted the production itself.” 

San Antonio, Texas-headquartered DPT Labs, whose centre of excellence for sterile and specialty products is in Lakewood, New Jersey also escaped unscathed.

The firm told us: “All of us at DPT are grateful that we have not had any reports of injuries from our team members in New Jersey, and that our facility did not sustain any damage. Back-up generators are functioning as intended. Once full power is restored and our employees are able to return to work safely, we will resume operations.”

Paul Johnson, DPT Group President, said: “Our thoughts are with our team members in Lakewood and all those that have been impacted by this devastating storm. We are grateful to the local emergency and utility employees who are working hard to ensure the safety of everyone in the community.”

German chemicals giant BASF – which supplies the pharmaceutical industry with APIs and excipients – also escaped unscathed, however the firm to temporarily halt production.

Company spokesman Andres-Christian Orthofer told us that: “Due to the severe weather conditions resulting from Hurricane Sandy, the following BASF sites will remain closed on Tuesday, October 30.

  • Connecticut Bristol, Connecticut
  • Delaware: Newport and Seaford
  • New Jersey: Budd Lake, Edison, Florham Park, Iselin*, Somerset, Union* and Washington
  • New York: Long Island, Peekskill and Tarrytown
  • Pennsylvania: Allentown

Outsourcing-pharma.com would be keen to hear from other manufacturers impacted by Sandy. Please let us know using the contact the editor button.

AAI Pharma spokesman Patrick Walsh contacted Outsourcing-pharma after publication to say the firm had escaped damage. In an email he said: "AAIPharma is please to report our employees are safe and our Edison New Jersey facility sustained no damage and back-up generation is in place.

He added that: "AAI has initiated a process to handle any clients projects affected by the storm as we have multiple locations across the United States to quickly address any pressing client requirements."

This publication was also sent a statement from AMRI.

AMRI is pleased to report that no damage occurred from the recent major storm that swept through the Northeastern United States.  Our facilities in the northeast – including Syracuse, Burlington, Rensselaer and Albany – are fully operational with no limitation.  

The firm said it had shut down certain process and operations to mitigate any potential damage but that in the end, these actions proved unnecessary. 

CEO Thomas D'Ambra also said: "We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to anyone affected by the recent storm and thank all of our employees for their extra efforts to ensure that all of our activities were protected from potential disaster.  AMRI will be making a donation to the relief efforts ongoing for our fellow citizens across the Northeast impacted by this unprecedented storm.” 

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