SAFC is investing $10m (€7.2m) to increase manufacturing capacity at its Ireland facility and to expand its Swiss plant, as well as eyeing two acquisitions in Europe, the company said last week.
The contract manufacturer, part of the Sigma-Aldrich group, said the Arklow, Ireland $4.7m investment will upgrade the pilot plant to significantly increase capacity for active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) products. The project is scheduled for the first quarter of next year. SAFC gained the Arklow site through the acquisition of Iropharm in May last year.
In addition, SAFC's Buchs, Switzerland site will extend its existing cGMP production facility with a $5.4m expansion aimed at boosting production capacity by 25 per cent through improved materials flow and separation, and increased materials storage. The new storage facility is expected to become operational in spring 2008.
Meanwhile, the company continues to seek more niche technologies for its pharma business and is planning to make two acquisitions in the European market to strengthen its position, SAFC officials said during the firm's European press briefing in Geneva last week.
The most recent purchase the firm made was in August 2006, when SAFC acquired Pharmorphix, a privately held firm based in Cambridge, UK with annual sales of roughly $5m.
"We are looking at acquisitions of disposable-focused companies or technologies in particular for biopharmaceuticals, as a disposable environment is especially adapted to scale-up, commercial manufacturing of biologic products," said Amanda Halford, SAFC's director of marketing, during the press conference.
SAFC recently launched manufacturing services for biologics, such as extraction and purification, as part of its Pharma business and also recently boosted its capacity in order to manufacture commercial quantities.
The biologic extraction and purification facility was completed in April this year and represented a $16m investment for SAFC.
The Pharma unit, which includes custom manufacturing of both small APIs and biopharmaceuticals, represents 20 per cent of SAFC's overall revenue which totalled $550m last year.
The majority of the segment's revenue comes from the production of chemical APIs but the biologics part is growing, although the company does not disclose a breakdown in its revenue.
Investments at Arklow and Buchs are the latest in a series for the firm and come hot on the heels of the expansion of high-potency intermediates (HPAPI) manufacturing and solid-form research at its Madison, Wisconsin facility and the completion of two new protein purification and extraction facilities on its St Louis, Missouri manufacturing campus.