Johnson Matthey to take on all Pharmorphix staff

Johnson Matthey buys Sigma-Aldrich solid state chem unit to boost API business

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pharmorphix's UK at the Cambridge Science Park in the UK
Pharmorphix's UK at the Cambridge Science Park in the UK

Related tags: Johnson matthey

Johnson Matthey has bought Sigma-Aldrich’s Pharmorphix division to add a 'significant' customer base and expand its European API business.

The deal - terms of which were not provided - was prompted by Pharmorphix's capabilities in solid form research, including polymorph studies, salt selection, co-crystallization, chiral separations and process scale-up.

Pharmorphix is based at the UK’s Cambridge Science Park. According to Johnson Matthey the former Sigma unit’s workforce will be fully integrated into the company.

This was confirmed by Nicholas Johnson, Strategic Marketing Director, Johnson Matthey Fine Chemicals, who told us: "Pharmorphix employs about 30 people and all will join Johnson Matthey.​"

Johnson added that: "Pharmorphix is a leading provider of solid state sciences with a significant customer base and excellent reputation. Johnson Matthey recognises the value of such services and their broad application across the pharmaceutical product life cycle.

"As such the Pharmorphix acquisition is highly complementary to existing capabilities in the US, and allows Johnson Matthey Fine Chemicals to quickly extend its offering in the pre-formulation services market in Europe​." 

Co-crystals

Sigma-Aldrich bought Pharmorphix in 2006 in a move in part prompted by US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA guidance on the manufacture of API co-crystals​ released earlier that year.

At the time Frank Wicks, then president of Sigma's SAFC unit, said: "Recently-published FDA guidelines concerning specification of API solid form make the services provided by firms such as Pharmorphix crucial to the pharmaceutical industry. 

Alfa divestiture completed

In other news, Johsnon Matthey has completed the sale of it Alfa Aesar Research Chemicals​ business to Thermo Fisher Scientific for £256m ($405m).

The divestiture was announced in June​. 

At the time Johnson Matthey CEO Robert MacLeod said: "The divestment of the Research Chemicals business is a further step in delivering our long term strategy to focus the group on growth areas where we can apply our expertise in complex chemistry to create long term value for our shareholders​."

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