Alkermes: Sale of 'non-core' CMO unit supports blossoming portfolio

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Gainesville, Georgia contract manufacturing site was sold last month
Gainesville, Georgia contract manufacturing site was sold last month

Related tags Central nervous system Nervous system Food and drug administration

Alkermes will continue to streamline its manufacturing and infrastructure to support a growing portfolio following the sale of its legacy CMO site.

The sale of Alkermes' contract manufacturing facility in Gainesville, Georgia, to Recro Pharma was completed last month netting the pharma firm $50m (€45m) and future royalties on meloxicam IV/IM.

Gainesville recorded revenues in 2014 of $70m but the sale comes as Alkermes CFO Jim Frates - speaking on a conference call last week - declared it had "streamlined our manufacturing and our organizational complexity, as we focus on bringing our portfolio of new medicines to market."

He continued: "Going forward we’re focused on maximizing the opportunities ahead as we build a major biopharmaceutical company. This includes planning for the FDA approval and launch of Aripiprazole Lauroxil."

Aripiprazole Lauroxil is a long-acting atypical antipsychotic for schizophrenia and was accepted for submission by the US FDA last October and the firm is currently prepping for a launch, expected within the next five months.

Despite calling Gainesvillea non-core asset, several analysts downgraded the company following the sale​.

For the first quarter 2015, revenues grew 24% on the same period last year to $161m, though Alkermes' net losses grew 25% to $31m, partly due to increased operating costs due to increased investment in its central nervous system (CNS) development pipeline and its pre-launch activities for Aripiprazole Lauroxil.

Going it alone?

CEO Richard Pops was asked on the call how Alkermes was looking to support its burgeoning pipeline, and whether the firm would be looking to partner others for development and/or commercialisation.

"We have a really strong development team that’s actually got much stronger in the last couple of years,"​ he said, "and we really loved the ability to run unencumbered."

However, he conceded in certain geographies Alkermes may have to strike licensing deals due to a lack of infrastructure.

"Ultimately we want these medicines to get to patients all over the world and we just don’t have the infrastructure in Malaysia, in Sri Lanka and places like that and over time we hope that we’ll enter into collaboration likely to do that."

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