Recipharm in talks to buy French eye drug plant from Alcon

By Fiona BARRY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Alcon sells a range of OTC and prescription opthalmic drugs
Alcon sells a range of OTC and prescription opthalmic drugs
Recipharm plans to buy an aseptic Blow-Fill-Seal plant from Alcon and turn it into a contract manufacturing site.

The Swedish contract development and manufacturing organisation is in talks with the French wing of Alcon, a US eyecare business bought by Novartis in 2011.

If the deal goes through, Recipharm will acquire Alcon’s plant in Kaysersberg, France, and take over manufacture of its ophthalmology products for Alcon and other customers.

Blow-Fill-Seal tech

The site, in the north-eastern Alsace region of France, produces small plastic unit doses of sterile drugs created through an injection moulding technique called Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS).  

BFS involves heating a plastic polymer resin, then extruding it to form a tube (parison) of the still hot resin. This is cut with a hot knife and inflated with sterile air from a blow-fill needle (mandrel). This container is filled with the liquid drug, the needle is removed, and the parison is sealed.

As with traditional aseptic processing, the machinery, barriers, and air used in Blow-Fill-Seal manufacturing must be kept sterile or HEPA-filtered. The US FDA mandates Class 100,000 (ISO 8) standards for equipment and Class 100 (ISO 5) airborne particle levels.

Mark Quick, Recipharm executive vice president of corporate development, told with the expected increase in production levels at the Kaysersberg plant as it continues Alcon’s lines and takes on other customers, there is “potential” for investment and expansion at the plant.

Our business model is to sell CDMO services - we’ll be able to sell BFS seal technology,​” he said.

260 jobs safe

Recipharm says it will rehire the 260 people currently employed by Alcon.

Mark Quick told both parties are waiting for consultation with Alcon’s Works Council (Comité d'Entreprise​) – representatives of the company’s workers – before they can finish negotiations. The process will take several weeks before a deal can be struck, said Recipharm’s spokesperson.

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