in-PharmaTechnologist.com's round-up of developments in the pharmaceutical manufacturing space features news of Interlink's new Irish lab, Rentschler's biotechnology investment and GSK's plan to wind up operations at its Crawley plant.
Rentschler sells drug division and invests in biotech
Contract development and manufacturing specialist Rentschler has set its sights firmly on the biotechnology market with the announcement of a €14m ($22m) investment in its production facility in the southern German city of Laupheim.
The move, which comes only months after the completion of €50m worth of development work at the site, coincides with the sale of Rentschler's pharmaceutical division to fellow German company Riemser Arzneimittel.
While financial details have not been disclosed, the divestiture coupled with the increased biotechnology investment is clearly an indication of Rentschler's belief in Europe's developing biotechnology contract research and manufacturing services (CRAMS) sector.
Friederike Braun of Rentschler Biotechnologie's marketing and communications department told in-PharmaTechnologist.com that: "The size of the pharmaceutical unit was sub-critical to allow significant growth from own resources. Therefore, additional investments had to compete against the biotech unit. For Riemser, Rentschler Pharma complements the own portfolio of skills & technologies."
Braun added that, at present, the firm "has nine stand-alone GMP suites with volumes of 30, 250, 500 and 2,500 litres, allowing the production of material for clinical trials and for market supply. The range of services also comprises the sterile filling of pre-filled syringes and injection vials."
GSK to shut Crawley plant
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plans to close its plant in Crawley, UK by the end of 2011. At present, the facility manufactures both the Parkinson's disease drug Requip (ropinirole HCl) and the beta blocker Coreg CR (carvedilol phosphate), as well as various treatments for HIV/AIDS, skin infection, depression and hypertension.
A GSK spokesperson told in-PharmaTechnologist.com that: "We are continuing to progress our restructuring plan, announced last October. Regrettably these have resulted in the proposed closure of the manufacturing site based in Crawley with inevitable job loses."
"This is a necessary measure to respond to changes in GSK's pharmaceutical product portfolio and the need to improve overall efficiency. We will continue to do everything we can to support affected employees through this process," she added.
Intertek BioClin open new Irish analytical lab
Intertek BioClin says that the additional laboratory capacity provided by its new laboratory in Athlone, Ireland, will allow it to offer a broader range of contract research, bio-analysis and research services to clients in the pharmaceutical industry.
The 882.5 square metre facility, which replaces Intertek's existing laboratory space, was gained through the acquisition of Irish contract research organisation (CRO) BioClin in February. The site houses bioanalytical and pharmaceutical product analysis capabilities as well as a stability-storage unit and secure document archive.
Speaking at the site's grand opening, Intertek CEO Wolfhart Hauser said that the laboratory will enhance the firm's "network of quality and safety services and laboratories to Irish business looking to trade globally and support business growth in Athlone and greater Ireland."
These thoughts were echoed by John Conti-Ramsden, global director of Intertek's Pharmaceutical Services division, who said that the "expansion consolidates and enhances the level of services we can provide to the pharmaceutical R&D industry not just in Ireland, but now also overseas through Intertek's reach."