Under the deal, the US contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) will aid the development of drug candidates for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease and cancer, Siena’s key therapeutic areas.
An Aptuit spokeswoman told Outsourcing-pharma that: "As a provider of choice for Siena Biotech, Aptuit will play a key role in collaborating with the company on R&D efforts to advance its promising pipeline candidates,"
She add that "The companies are actively engaged and are working together to develop strategic plans and establish timelines around the work."
And, while additional information about the duration of the deal was not disclosed, Siena’s acquisition of a “minority stake” in Aptuit’s Italian business suggests it will be a long-term arrangement.
The Verona facility, bought from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) last month, houses capabilities for discovery, lead optimisation, active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) development and manufacturing services.
At the time, Aptuit cited these technologies, coupled with entry into GSK’s contract services network, as key motivations for the purchase, explaining that the unit would further expand its “strategic partnerships” strategy.
This approach was also key to the Siena deal according to Aptuit's spokeswoman who explained that: "The nature of this collaboration marks a change in how pharma and biotech companies are viewing outsourcing partners such as Aptuit as key contributors to their R&D programs and a shift in the mindset around the way in which drug development is conducted to maximize resources, capacity and expertise."
So, while it is too early to say if the Italian acquisition has been a success, the signing of a contract with Siena less than a month after it made the purchase suggests there is at least demand for Aptuit’s new offering.
Aptuit’s efforts to expand its business beyond the standard contract manufacturing offering into drug discovery and development have been considerable over the last few years.
The process began in 2006 when Aptuit unveiled plans to buy solid state chemistry firm SSCI, just weeks after boosting its manufacturing capacity with the acquisition of EaglePicher.
This service expansion was followed a few months later by Aptuit’s investment of $100m in a joint venture with India’s Larus Labs that sought to establish a new drug development and manufacturing unit.
And, prior to its deal with GSK, Aptuit has focused on expanding its discovery and development services offering, as evidenced by its launch in February of a new solid state chemistry offering.