CMOs, CDMOs give company updates at DCAT Week: Acquisitions, expansions on all sides

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Martin Barraud)
(Image: Getty/Martin Barraud)
At DCAT Week, contract manufacturing and development companies from across the globe shared updates and news – from multi-million dollar investments to new business structures and areas of focus.

Companies took to the podium last week at the annual event, which is organized and hosted by the Drug, Chemical & Associated Technologies Association (DCAT).

DCAT is a not-for-profit, member-supported, global business development association whose membership model integrates both innovator and generic drug manufacturers and suppliers of ingredients, development and manufacturing services, and related technologies.

Below, find updates from some of the member companies:

Piramal Pharma Solutions

Vivek Sharma, CEO, said the company is committed to investing in its business around the globe, with $90m invested in total.

“This allows us to expand our capabilities and be able to serve more customers as well as reach out to more patients,”​ he explained.

“We are seeing more demand from our customers,”​ Sharma added. “We see outsourcing as a trend that continues to grow and expand.”

The plan is to add more capacity and new capabilities between now and next year, he explained, adding that the company is “already getting order and commitments for customers for expansion.”

Sharma said the company is also looking to acquire additional sites. “As customer demand continues and as market demand grows we are looking to add more capital,” ​he added.


Novasep has made a “huge commitment to increase [its] biologic footprint with intense investments,”​ said Jean Bléhaut, president, manufacturing solutions business unit.

“We see a lot of demand for clinical and a lot of customers preparing for commercial scale,”​ he explained.

Bléhaut said the company’s new vector facility – which will have two cGMP lines – is nearing mechanical completion.

The facility addresses the increased demand for small-volume mAb CDMO services for targeted therapies and orphan indications, he explained.

Novasep also has seen “a lot of interest”​ in its antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) manufacturing capabilities.

SK biotek

SK biotek’s parent company is committed to growing the CMO business, said Nitin Parekh, PhD, vice president and executive director, strategy and business.

The company recently purchased BMS’ Swords manufacturing site, which marked “the beginning of an acquisition streak.”

The former transfer of ownership closed Jan 1, 2018, and all 350 employees were retained.

Parekh said the company will hire more employees in the near future – “Tens of millions of dollars are going to be invested in this facility going forward,”​ he added.

The site will be used as a “growth model”​ for the SK biotek organization, Parekh explained, and the footprint enables the company to “walk faster”​ in both the European US marketplace.

Additionally, Parekh said having the site “gives us an opportunity to consider US acquisition going forward.”

Lonza AG

Lonza had its best year in corporate history in 2017, said Joseph Colleluori, vice president, commercial development, Lonza Pharma and Biotech.

This growth was complemented by several acquisitions, the largest of which was its $5.5bn purchase of Capsugel. The company also acquired PharmaCell and Micro-Macinazione in 2017.

The acquisitions give the company the opportunity to consolidate its headquarters in the US, Colleluori said, as the company will move its center of operations to Morristown, NJ.

With the Capsugel purchase, Lonza acquired 15 new sites and more than 3,500 new people. Integration activities were completed in January of this year.

“All activities have now been brought into the fold,”​ said Colleluori, adding that the company will continue to grow organically and through acquisitions.

“We will be diligent and discerned in terms of the acquisitions,”​ he explained.

Colleluori also noted that Lonza is also opening “the world’s largest”​ cell therapy facility in April.


The merger between Dow and DuPont was completed last year.

Angela Strzelecki, global business director, pharma excipients, DuPont Nutrition and Health said the intent was to form three strong businesses: Materials science (legacy Dow and will keep Dow name) is anticipated to separate by the end of the first quarter of 2019, agriculture (Corteva) and specialty products (which will carry Du Pont name) are expected to separate by June 1, 2019.

“This is an exciting time for the pharma industry,”​ said Strzelecki, “and we know the solutions of the future in the excipient space are not necessarily the same as solutions of the past.”


The only printed packaging company to present, Nosco president Russ Haraf, said it aims to be a $160m company.

The company made two acquisitions in 2017, which will allow Nosco to expand its printed packing capacity by $25m.

“Product redundancy has become one of the most significant themes we hear about in pharma printed packaging,”​ explained Haraf.

“We believe packing is still a regional business,” ​he added – and the company’s strategy is to be a premier provider in North America.


Carrying on the theme of acquisitions and integration, Jason Bertola, director, global highly potent and oncology platform, noted CordenPharma’s latest acquisition of a Pfizer facility in Colorado.

The company’s commitment to Pfizer ends in 2019, at which time capacity will be freed up, though further expansion is planned, said Bertola.

“The acquisition will have an immediate impact on our highly potent API business,”​ he added, explaining that it aligns with the company’s long-term goal of growing its highly potent and oncology business.

Catalent Pharma Solutions

Catalent completed its acquisition of Cook Pharmica in October 2017. Aileen Ruff, vice president, business unit strategy and marketing, biologics and specialty drug delivery said the acquisition “really changes what our biologics business is.”

Following the acquisition, the company created a new business unit focused on biologics and specialty drug delivery.

Ruff said he expects that the company’s biologics business will “continue to get bigger,”​ though it already represents “a substantial amount”​ of the company’s revenue.

Procos S.p.A.

Procos S.p.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese company, CBC Co. Ltd Group, specializes in the development, scale-up, and production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and intermediates.

The company’s manufacturing site in Cameri, Italy spans 110,000 square meters and has been audited and approved by the AIFA, FDA, and PMDA.

Enrico Zodio, CEO said the company is partnering with global pharmaceutical companies as it looks to play a “more important role in the pharma arena."

The company also is investing further and widening its services in terms of process and analytical development and GMP manufacturing by 30% in the next few years, Zodio said.


Biocon is moving towards becoming a "specialized CDMO" ​focusing on "special technologies, difficult-to-make products, and away from commodity products,”​ explained Prasad BSV, chief operating officer.

The company, based in Bangalore, India, is a fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures, and supplies biopharmaceuticals for diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune conditions.

The company has eight subsidiaries and two step down subsidiaries.

AB BioTechnologies

J. Jeff Schwegman, PhD, CEO and founder of AB BioTechnologies, over the last ten years “slowly grew”​ the company, which originally focused on formation development.

“The voices in my head said, ‘Now you need to get into contract manufacturing,”​ he explained.

The Bloomington, IN-based company announced its plans to add new contract manufacturing operations in Bloomington in January 2017.

The company last year broke ground on a new facility, which will be functional by the end of the summer, said Schwegman.

“We’re putting an entire manufacturing facility together for about $12m, which is unheard of,”​ he explained.

The facility will provide clinical manufacturing services, including formulation, filling, lyophilization, and packaging.


“I’m here to announce how are starting a plan of investment of several millions,”​ said Stefano Luca Giaffreda, PhD, the company’s CEO and co-founder.

PolyCrystalLine will “transform”​ from a CRO into a CDMO with a focus on the crystallization process, he said,

“This transformation will be complete in 2019,”​ explained Giaffreda.

The company is expanding its business and services to provide a range of development capabilities, from preclinical to Phase II.

Giaffreda said: “We are going to transform our company into a CDMO where ‘D’ is for development.”

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