The $61m (€49m) deal – due to complete at the end of the month – includes facilities in Crickhowell, Wales and Phoenixville, Pennsylvania where Bilcare provides formulation development, packaging, labelling and supply chain management for drugs in clinical trials. The businesses employ 195 people.
Bilcare will continue to operate its trial supply business in Asia, which is based at a site in Pune, India and –according to a joint statement – will work with United Drug (UD) across all three regions, although specifics of the collaboration were not provided.
The Bilcare units will become part of UD’s packaging and specialist division, which has been the focus of considerable expansion efforts in recent years as the Irish firm strived to offset the austerity measures and weak economy that dented its domestic business.
In November last year announced it would try to win strategic packaging deals in Europe, reasoning that biopharmaceutical companies keen to reduce fixed costs would increasing seek outsourced solutions.
These efforts appear to be paying off. In February the firm said it had won a $30m packaging deal for an unnamed ‘leading pharmaceutical company covering Europe and the US.
The Bilcare agreement also fits with UD efforts to diversify and internationalise if business, which have seen the firm buy British firm Water Medical Consultancy and German market services group Pharmexx in the last few months.
As with those purchases, the international reach of the Bilcare’ businesses certainly seems to have been a key motivation for UD, judging from comments by company CEO Liam FitzGerald.
“The Bilcare acquisition is another very important step in the development of United Drug as we focus on margin expanding, international opportunities,“ he said.
Neither Bilcare nor United Drug responded to Outsourcing-pharma.com’s requests for additional comment ahead of publication.