Wyeth site rescued by new start-up firm

By Anna Lewcock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wyeth, Venlafaxine

Wyeth's manufacturing facility in Rouses Point, New York, has been
spared the scrap heap, with yesterday's announcement that new
pharma player Akrimax has bought up the beleaguered site.

While financial figures for the acquisition were not disclosed, Akrimax received a $2m grant from Empire State Development (an agency encouraging economic investment in the state) and a further $1m was secured through the senate. The death knell for the Rouses Point facility seemed to ring in October 2005, when Wyeth announced it would be phasing out activities at the plant following a drop in demand for menopause treatment Premarin (conjugated oestrogens), manufactured at the site. Original plans were to have ceased all operations by the end of this year, but Akrimax had apparently been in discussions with Wyeth regarding the possibility of an acquisition since the closure was announced. Akrimax only officially formed in 2007, but the acquisition of the Wyeth plant provides it with a large manufacturing facility and an 800-strong workforce, most of who will be kept on at the site. The plant itself covers around one million square feet in manufacturing and packaging facilities, currently used to manufacture products such as Premarin and Wyeth's anti-depressant drug Effexor XR (venlafaxine). Under the terms of the agreement, the two firms will work cooperatively over a transition period lasting until the end of 2009. During this time, Akrimax will lease the facility back to Wyeth to allow the firm to continue manufacturing its products while Akrimax begins introducing its own products to the plant. Akrimax also intends to introduce contract manufacturing services to the facility to produce products for third party customers. The sale announced this week does not include a 12,000 sq ft chemical development pilot plant located next to the manufacturing facility. Wyeth intends to continue operations at the chemical development site, as well as at its other New York facilities in Chazy and Plattsburgh. Young Akrimax develops and manufactures prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) products in solid (capsule and tablets), semi-solid (creams and ointments) and liquid dosage forms, as well as controlled/sustained release and sterile injectables. Products currently on its books include Inderal (propanolol) tablets and long-acting capsules, and Lo Ovral (ethinyl estradiol and norgestrel).

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