The plant – which will be outside the city of Puducherry – will initially produce desiccant canisters for pharmaceutical packaging, however, the plan is to make Clariant’s full range of equilibrium sorbents, adsorbent polymers and oxygen scavengers in due course.
Clariant said the aim is to cater for “globally active generic and branded pharmaceutical companies operating in India” as well as local manufacturers.
The firm told us "We expect to break ground to begin construction in January 2016. The new plant is slated to be operational by 2017."
It added that "Clariant already has a significant footprint in Cuddalore and the Healthcare Packaging site will be co-located there for synergistic purposes."
Clariant also stressed the plant will comply with “all relevant cGMP and US FDA standards” suggesting it could supply products for markets outside the country.
This interpretation is supported by comments from Ketan Premani, head of Clariant healthcare packaging sales in India, who said: “India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally, making it a key market for Clariant’s desiccant products.
“We want to ensure that we serve our customers here as directly and efficiently as possible. When the plant is complete, they will now have the ability to procure Clariant’s global-standard products directly produced in India.”
The Switzerland-based specialty chemical firm has been building its business in large Asian markets in 2015. In March, it opened a new healthcare product packaging plant in Dongguan, China that it gained through the acquisition of VitaPac.
Clariant also operates a facility in Changshu.
When the Cuddalore plant is up and running there will be a degree of overlap in terms of the products that can be made at Clariant’s manufacturing facilities. This is deliberate response to drug industry demand according to explains Matthias Brommer, Vice President and Head of Clariant Healthcare Packaging.
“More and more global pharmaceutical companies are instituting business-continuity plans, or BCP, to deal with possible market disruptions, both natural and man-made,” he said, adding that “This new plant will support our ability to provide the same products from multiple plants in Asia and around the world.”
News of the new Indian facility comes a day after Clariant formed a partnership with FreeThink Technologies that will focus on using the latter’s software tools to improve packaging technologies for the storage of sensitive pharmaceuticals.
It also follows Clariant's acquisition of a 30% stake in Brazilian health and personal care ingredients firm Beraca Ingredientes Naturais.