The new deal will see Mumbai-based Ace supply local drugmakers with GEA Lyophil's range of freeze dryers, which incorporate the automatic loading and unloading (ALUS) handling system for the processing of potent active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
Also under the agreement, Ace will be responsible for sales of the customisable Smart Lyo freeze drying technologies that, GEA claims, can help drugmakers reduce the cost of setting up manufacturing operations.
Since February, Ace has been acting as sales and distribution agent for GEA’ Courtoy MODUL and PERFORMA range of pharmaceutical tablet presses in India, winning the contract on the strength of its extensive national network.
This broad reach, both in terms of sales and service capacity, was also a factor in the new agreement, as GEA’s regional manager, Navin Lakhanpaul, explained.
“The new agreement will provide an excellent service network enabling us to react more quickly to our customers’ requirements for leading edge pharmaceutical freeze drying equipment with a first-class back up service.”
Frans Maas, GEA’s sales and marketing director, echoed this idea, but also stressed that Ace’s track record was also a key factor in the new deal extension.
“We have seen the phenomenal success that Ace Technologies has had as a distributor of pharmaceutical freeze drying equipment in India and are confident that their customer network, service set-up and engineering capabilities will be a tremendous asset to us.”
This extended agreement suggests that GEA plans to target Indian firms working with highly toxic substances and drugs where thermal stability during shipping is an issue, which most observers expect to emerge as a significant proportion of the country's manufacturing sector in comping years.
For example, a recent report by RNCOS suggested that the India contract manufacturing market, valued at $807m (€539m) in 2007, will grow 37 per cent through to 2012 as a result of the cost advantages offered by the country for international pharma firms.
The authors also said that, while previously India was seen as a destination for easy-to-make small molecule drugs, a growing number of international players will turn to the country for the production of complex pharmaceutical and this will see demand for “western quality” production machines.