Recipharm adds lyophilisation to repertoire

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Sweden’s Recipharm hopes that its newly acquired lyophilisation plant will complete its contract services offering and firmly establish it as a player on the CDMO stage.

The Basel plant, which was formerly owned by Inotech Labor, is capable of processing 250 litres of a drug substance at a time, and is suitable for the production of materials for both clinical trials and small-scale commercial manufacture.

Recipharm highlighted the facility’s filling equipment, which was updated just over a year ago, as a key factor in its purchasing decision. The firm added that it will retain existing workforce to manage and run day-to-day operations.

Company CEO Thomas Eldred said that the facility is at the hub of Switzerland’s booming biopharmaceuticals sector where there is growing demand for the technique. He added that: “We are inheriting a strong order book, which creates and ideal platform for us to market our new services to existing clients​.”

Eldred went on to say that: “Bringing lyophilisation into our service offering forms an integral part of our strategy to become one of the pre-eminent drug development and formulation companies in Europe. It also represents an important step in our strategic drive to expand into the realm of biologicals​.”

The market for lyophilisation, a vacuum method for freeze drying compounds that maintains their physical structure, is continuing to expand as drugmakers increasingly turn to industry experts to apply this expensive specialist technique.

While contracting giant Patheon dominates the European scene with its facilities in Ferentino and Monza, in Italy and lyophilized cephalosporin plant in Swindon in the UK, the growing demand for improved drug stability means that there are still plenty of opportunities in the market.

Recipharm’s manufacturing focus

In recent months Recipharm, already one of the world’s top 10 earning contract manufacturing organisations (CMO), has focused on expanding its development and production capabilities. This process was begun with the sale of its own brand products division to fellow Swede’s Meda, a specialty pharmaceuticals group, in 2007.

The Basel site is Recipharm’s eighth manufacturing facility, of which two supply the US market. Five plants are located in Sweden which produce solid dose, semi solids, granulates and a dedicated beta lactam plant.

The other two facilities are located in France and the UK giving the firm additional solid dose capability as well as capabilities in aseptic sterile manufacturing in ampoules, vials and cartridges and dry powder inhalation.

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