BASF AG's Fine Chemicals division is expanding production of pharmaceutical active ingredients with the construction of a new plant at its site in Minden, Germany. A spokesman for the company told In-pharmatechnologist.com that the amount of the investment is not being disclosed, but is in the "double-digit million euro" range.
The move reflects BASF's strategy of increasing investment in its Pharma Solutions business unit, and particularly the expansion of its contract manufacturing capabilities. The group was a mid-range player in pharmaceutical manufacturing and marketing via its Knoll subsidiary until 2001, when the unit was sold to the USA's Abbott Laboratories.
The spokesman noted that the sale of these activities allowed BASF to really push the ingredients manufacturing business, as it became easier to secure contracts from former competitors.
The new plant, which is expected to start operations in late 2004, will manufacture pharmaceutical active ingredients and intermediates in accordance with current Good Manufacturing Practice.
"The Minden site is particularly suitable for the planned capital expenditure in view of its expertise and many years of experience in manufacturing and handling pharmaceutical active ingredients such as pseudoephedrine and caffeine," said BASF in a statement. It employs approximately 730 people at the site.
The spokesman noted that the investment has not been made in response to any particular new contract, but is intended to address what is expected to be a rapidly growing market for custom manufacturing over the next few years. To capitalise on this, BASF is ensuring that the new plant has flexible equipment that will allow rapid product changeovers and the incorporation of new technologies.
In 2002, the Pharma Solutions business unit posted sales of approximately €400 million and, by 2010, BASF says it aims to achieve "a leading position" in this business, although it would not provide forecasts for turnover going forward.