The new site provides Saltigo with a US base for its pharma operations to complement its larger facility back in Leverkusen, Germany. The company intends to use the kilo lab and pilot plant to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for early clinical testing up to and including Phase IIa. "In this business, it is less a case of developing stable processes for the production of commercial quantities than achieving flexibility and speed in delivering the substances to ensure the best possible support for API development," said Willhelm Stahl, head of Saltigo's pharma business line. Saltigo plans to invest in the ex-ICOS site to expand the company's capabilities, including improving infrastructure, strengthening facilities associated with low-temperature synthesis and good manufacturing practice (GMP) kilo production, and optimising quality management. The firm sees the US a key market, with particular hopes for new customers along the west coast, home to many small pharma companies that Saltigo considers "innovation drivers for the entire industry." "Saltigo expects to establish many new business relationships [as a result of the new site] and thus achieve a corresponding increase in sales." While the new US site will focus on early lifecycle phases, larger volume production runs needed for later in product lifecycles will still take place at the company's site in Germany. This time last year, Lanxess announced a €30m cash injection for plant modernisation at Saltigo, and a further €10m for a brand new multi-purpose facility. The move came in a bid to improve profitability at the subsidiary, which was underachieving despite efforts to improve its fine chemicals business. Lanxess itself recently announced a five per cent price increase across its entire basic chemicals portfolio, blamed on high raw material and energy prices and rising logistics costs. Just over a month ago another former ICOS plant was snapped up by CMC Biopharmaceuticals, part of Eli Lilly's trimming down following its acquisition of ICOS for over $2bn in 2006. The acquisition gave Lilly full control of the number two erectile dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil), but also excess facilities that are now finding new homes. Danish firm CMC took on the development and manufacturing operations at the biologics plant in Bothell, Washington State, in December for an undisclosed sum.