Chinese CDMO group buys New Jersey J-STAR for $26m

By Dani Bancroft contact

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: Drug discovery

A US-subsidiary of the Chinese CDMO Porton Fine Chemicals Ltd. has bought the New Jersey based small molecule API contract research organisation, J-STAR Research, Inc. 

Porton’s wholly-owned subsidiary Porton USA, L.L.C. will acquire the 21-year old J-STAR business for $26m (Eur24m) in cash.

J-STAR offers outsourcing of early clinical development of small molecule APIs, including custom synthesis, crystallization R&D and analytical services.

The firm has a team of 47 based in South Plainfield, New Jersey, which Porton claims will support its new technology centre team of around 75 nearby in Cranbury, NJ.

"The strategic acquisition of J-STAR allows us to accelerate the fulfilment of our goal of providing integrated outsourcing services in the development and manufacturing of new drugs,"​ said Oliver Ju, Chairman of Porton.

CRO Services

J-Star has two kilo lab cGMP production suites for API synthesis, with reactor sizes varying between 5L to 100L permitting production of materials at around 5Kg.

The firm’s QA QC suite uses Gas and liquid chromatography, as well as Proton, Carbon, Fluorine and Phosphorus Varian Inova NMR instruments (400 MHz and 300 MHz).

J-STAR’s Crystallisation R&D suite includes an OptiMax HFCalorimeter for ‘Plug & Play’calorimetric studies, and an EasyMax synthesis reaction system, both automated and from Mettler & Toledo International, Inc.

“With the integration with Porton platform, we shall find a perfect match connecting our customized development ability with Porton's advanced manufacturing experience to better serve new drug industry,"​ said Andrew Thompson, CEO and co-founder of J-STAR.

New Jersey Base

Founded in 2005, Porton Fine Chemicals is headquartered​ in Chongqing, China, with a market cap of approx. 1.2Bn USD (8.5Bn CNY).

The firm opened its US-based Technology center October​ last year, close to major Big Pharma firms such as Pfizer and Merck & Co.

On the opening, Todd Nelson Porton USA VP and General Manager of Porton Technology Center (PTC) said “Integrating PTC’s CRO capabilities with PFC’s manufacturing expertise centred in a lower cost geography, such as China, will offer powerful end-to-end solutions and seamless supply chains to the biopharmaceutical community.”

The J-STAR sale is expected to close March 26.

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