Schwarz Pharma has awarded an engineering and procurement contract to a Jacobs Engineering Group subsidiary for the development of a new active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facility in Ireland.
The value of the contract remains undisclosed, but will be welcome news to the Irish Government who last month lamented the country's "uncompetitive" position in health-related research and development.
The new facility will be part of Schwarz's manufacturing site in Shannon, County Clare, and requires substantial additions and modification to existing process equipment in order to fulfil requirements for the production of the company's new drug, fesoterodine.
Schwarz Pharma agreed to transfer its rights to the anti-muscarinic drug, a new candidate for treatment of overactive bladder, to Pfizer on a world-wide basis in June 2006. The drug was submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) earlier in the year, and has been tipped to make peak sales of €450m a year by the drug maker.
Pfizer had been in the process of taking legal action against Schwarz regarding fesoterodine, claiming that it infringed on certain patents that cover Detrol, Pfizer's own overactive bladder treatment. Following the licence agreement all patent disputes and claims between both companies were settled.
Fesoterodine will be positioned as a successor to Detrol LA (tolterodine) which added $988m (€745m) to Pfizer's coffers in 2005, but is facing patent expiry in 2011.
Earlier this month Schwarz Pharma accepted a takeover offer by Belgian biopharmaceutical UCB, whereby the Schwarz family's 59.2 per cent holding of the company's shares were acquired by the company.