Sigma-Aldrich has boosted its capacity to supply pharmaceutical ingredients with the purchase of Tetrionics, a company with a strong position in the high growth area of high potency and cytotoxic compounds.
The move comes hard on the heels of Sigma-Aldrich's April acquisition of UK fine chemicals company Ultrafine, which bolstered Sigma's presence in Europe, adding additional UK manufacturing facilities to its current plants in the UK and Switzerland.
The acquisition is expected to add approximately 1 per cent to Sigma-Aldrich 's growth in the remaining quarters of 2004 and, when combined with the Ultrafine purchase, achieves the group's goal of adding 2 per cent to its annual internal growth through acquisitions this year.
Located in the University of Wisconsin's research park in Madison, Tetrionics was founded in 1989 to supply the pharmaceutical development market with high purity vitamin D analogues. Its services have since been expanded to include synthesis and scale up, analytical chemistry, regulatory support and current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) of active pharmaceutical ingredients across a broad range of structural classes of molecules with a strong emphasis on high potency and cytotoxic compounds.
Terms of the purchase, which were not disclosed, were paid in cash. With the exception of the CEO, Peter Johnson, all of Tetrionics' 50-person workforce will remain with the company.
Frank Wicks, president of Sigma-Aldrich Fine Chemicals, said: "High potency drugs represent one of the fastest growing segments of the pharmaceutical industry, with roughly 25 per cent of all new drugs under development falling into this category. "
One of the factors driving the development of high potency market has been a shift in the average doses of all drugs from around 100mg/day in the 1980s to around 40mg/day now, as companies strive to develop drugs with more specific action and fewer side effects.
Another has been the growth of the market for cytotoxic cancer drugs, although earlier this year a Tetrionics spokesman said he believed traditional cytotoxics have reached an effectiveness plateau and most development activities are now focused on drugs with different mechanisms of action, such as interrupting the growth of blood vessels within tumours (angiogenesis).
Tetrionics is in the process of doubling its capacity for high-potency API production in a programme due to complete in the middle of next year.