Aspen Acquires Merck’s Dutch API Plant for $1B

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

Aspen Acquires Merck’s Dutch API Plant for $1B

Related tags Aspen Netherlands Pharmacology Manufacturing

The Aspen Group, a generic pharmaceutical company, is moving further into the manufacturing business with the purchase of Merck’s API manufacturing sites in the Netherlands and Iowa.

Merck, known as MSD in the European (EU), will continue to purchase the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) manufactured at the sites by Aspen under a 10-year supply contract. The API business recorded revenue of €284m ($370m) last year for MSD.

Shauneen Beukes, a spokeswoman for Aspen, said one of the reasons behind Aspen’s purchase was the way the new facilities will supplement Aspen’s global footprint, especially as the company looks to sell products and expand its contract manufacturing for clients in  Latin America and Asia Pacific.

In addition, one of the APIs made at the Netherlands plant – heparin – is used in the manufacture of Fraxiparine, which is a product Aspen tried to acquire from GSK on June 18. Aspen also attempted to purchase a manufacturing facility from GSK.

Other opportunities from the acquisition by Aspen, which is the largest drug manufacturer in Australia, will be to develop finished dosage form products from some of the APIs, such as hormones and peptides. Aspen added that it plans to improve the cost competitiveness of the APIs made at the facilities.

The sites acquired include those in Oss, Netherlands, parts of the Moeneind and De Geer sites, as well as a facility in Boxtel, and manufacture biochemicals and synthetically-produced chemicals.

The sold plant in Oss, Netherlands, was originally owned by Organon Biosciences and it came with Merck’s acquisition of Schering-Plough in 2009. Plans to acquire the Dutch API and other manufacturing facilities first came to light last February​.

The deal also involved the acquisition of 11 products ranging from hormone replacement therapies to anti-coagulants and corticosteroids.

The acquisition of the API business, which also includes a sales office in Des Moines, Illinois, is expected to close on October 1, while the acquisition of products is expected to be effective on December 31.

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