Canadian CMO Patheon will buy softgel specialist Banner Pharmacaps, moving forward with its plan to build in the oral dose delivery sector.
The deal will see Patheon pay foodmaker Vion around $255m for Banner in an agreement that includes its research laboratories and manufacturing facilities in the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico.
The move – which will intensify competition with existing players in the softgel field like Catalent and Capsugel – is part of a wider strategic realignment that has seen Patheon sell its clinical packaging unit and reduce its headcount at its UK site.
CEO James Mullen made reference to the changes, explaining that: "The acquisition of Banner advances our strategic plan put in place in 2011, fully aligning with Patheon's intent to be the leader in oral dosage development and manufacturing services.
“The transaction provides us with a well-balanced portfolio of proprietary products, state-of-the-art facilities with enhanced capabilities, as well as an expanded geographical presence.”
In addition to prescription pharmaceuticals, the acquisition – which is expected to complete by the end of the year – will add capabilities in over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and nutritional products to Patheon’s offering.
Patheon has been trying to build its softgel business since even before it decided to refocus on its core contracting activities.
In 2010 for example it added capacity for the dosage for at its manufacturing facility in Cincinnati, US.
This process continued this January when Patheon teamed up with capsule maker Colombian capsule maker Procaps to set up a softgel product development and manufacturing service based on the P-Gels technology they created.
At the time Patheon spokesman Geoff Glass told Outsourcing-pharma.com that the alliance was a result of customer demand for a solution to solubility problems.
“We’ll continue to add solubility enhancing technologies and techniques as the pipeline of BCS (Biopharmaceutics Classification System) class II and IV compounds continue to grow,” he said.
He said: “We have evidence that there is significant interest in alternatively quality supply for soft-gels.
“Numerous existing Patheon customers have been specifically requesting soft-gel manufacturing alternatives to their current suppliers.”