After shedding two of its unwanted divisions, a leaner Cambrex has decided to channel its energy into its high potency development (HiPO) business.
The firm announced plans to build 11,500 square feet of new laboratory space at its Charles City, Iowa site and employ up to 40 new scientists and engineers by early 2008.
"With the number of high potency compounds entering clinical trials increasing, this expansion will help Cambrex strengthen its development pipeline in this strategically important market," said Steven Klosk, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Cambrex.
Additions will include five new process development/kilo lab production suites for high potency active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) as well as enhanced facilities for analytical development and quality control activities, said the company.
The expansion will not provide the firm with any new capabilities, but is aimed at helping the firm better tailor development and production to the specific requirements of its customers in terms of volume and scale, Bob Thomson, director of Investor Relations at Cambrex, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.
"The new facility will contain a number of kilo labs in a variety of sizes, some which we do not currently have, and this will allow us access to an improved size and layout of equipment that will more effectively streamline scale-up," he said.
Cambrex has targeted high potency APIs as a particular business focus due to its high growth potential, said Thomson.
This niche corner of contract manufacturing is generating double-digit sales growth at a time when the bulk API production market is becoming much less lucrative due to fierce international competition and saturation of the market.
"The demand for contracting manufacturing of high potency APIs – which are predominantly used in new oncology therapies – is currently greater than most other contract manufacturing activities," said Thomson.
"Of all the clinical leads coming through the pipelines, oncology drugs have an above-market growth rate. I have seen it reported that high potency compounds represent about 10 per cent of drugs currently on the market and about 20-25 per cent of pipeline drugs."
Meanwhile, the new facility expansion will also benefit a number of Cambrex's other contract services which are currently undertaken at the site, including the development/manufacture of high potency polymer therapeutics and controlled substances, API taste-masking formulation and HiPO API micronisation.