Fine-Chemical Producers and Contract API Manufacturers Expand

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A roundup of expansion activity of manufacturing capacity and service offerings from fine-chemical producers and contract API manufacturers.

A review of activity thus far in 2013 shows measured investment by contract manufacturers of APIs and intermediates and fine-chemical producers. Certain companies have or are expanding manufacturing capacity, and others have partnered or made bolt-on acquisitions.

Expansion activity

Siegfried is proceeding with a new 300-m3 production plant in Nantong, China. The company broke ground for the new facility in July 2013. The plant will begin commercial production in mid-2014 and employ a workforce of about 300 by 2015. Siegfried is also proceeding with the construction of a new 100-m3 chemical plant in Zofingen, Switzerland. The new building will replace several older plants at the Zofingen site that no longer comply with efficiency requirements and generate high maintenance expenses. The two plants in Nantong and Zofingen are based on an identical technical concept to facilitate product transfers from a regulatory and technical perspective. A new administration building also will be erected in Zofingen. The new offices will be ready for occupation in the second half of 2015.

Cedarburg Hauser Pharmaceuticals upgraded its API plant in Grafton, Wisconsin. The upgraded facilities are expected to increase API production by 20–25%. Improvements to the plant include the addition of a 30-ton process chiller, an additional 200-kilowatt backup generator, and an industrial vacuum pump. The company also tripled its filtration capacity through the addition of new, large Aurora filters.

In September 2013, International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG) agreed to acquire Allessa, a manufacturer of fine chemicals intermediates and specialty chemicals, headquartered in Frankfurt with production sites in Frankfurt’s vicinity in Fechenheim, Griesheim, and Hoechst. Allessa has more than 890 employees and an internal training center of more than 70 apprentices employed by the company.

The WeylChem Group, ICIG’s non-GMP fine chemicals platform, operates its plants in Griesheim and Hoechst as well, which also used to belong to the former Hoechst conglomerate, and any future cooperation between Allessa and the WeylChem Group, under one ownership, would result in additional synergies.


Earlier in 2013, ICIG agreed to acquire from the Solvay Group Peptisyntha SA, the Brussels-based custom manufacturer of peptides. Upon closing of the deal, expected this fall, Peptisyntha will become a member of ICIG’s CordenPharma platform as its third site offering peptide manufacturing. Although the US sister company Peptisyntha Inc., located in Torrance, California, is not part of the transaction, certain customer relationships will be assumed by Peptisyntha in Brussels.

Johnson Matthey’s Catalysis and Chiral Technologies business unit is expanding its existing specialty ligand manufacturing capability to include commercial-scale manufacturing up to 100 kg. The expansion is largely focused on the Buchwald ligands from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.The Buchwald ligands are a class of bulky and electron-rich dialkylbiaryl monophosphine ligands, which are used for the in situ generation of active catalysts. These ligands are used for coupling reactions in the manufacture of both pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals and are more commonly offered at a research scale for use in the laboratory, according to the company. This is the third recent investment by the company, which has made investments at facilities in Taloja, India, last year and has further expansion underway in Royston, United Kingdom.

In February 2013, Albemarle announced that its fine-chemistry services business approved and began construction on another expansion of its Tyrone, Pennsylvania custom manufacturing facility. The $30-million expansion adds new capacity to the site for custom manufacturing projects, but also improves the infrastructure to allow for future expansions. The expansion follows an earlier expansion that began operation in November 2012. The first increment of new capacity will be operational late in the first quarter of 2014.

Saltigo reported that it successfully passed a FDA inspection for its API production unit in Leverkusen, Germany and all the associated facilities. Also, Saltigo moved its corporate headquarters from Langenfeld to Leverkusen. The relocation of Saltigo’s corporate headquarters is part of a series of moves following the transfer of its parent company, Lanxess, headquarters to Cologne. In Leverkusen, business units and group functions from 11 different office buildings will move into four buildings belonging to Lanxess by the end of January 2014.

Collaborations to enhance capabilities

Companies also are partnering to expand capabilities. Earlier this year, DSM Pharmaceutical Products signed a collaboration agreement with Chemtrix in the field of continuous flow chemistry. The collaboration is intended to provide equipment, development, and manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry. Also, Almac completed its knowledge-transfer partnership with Queens University Belfast, which was intended to develop, improve, and embed bioprocesses to facilitate the delivery of products for its biocatalysis business. The overall partnership aim was to allow technology transfer of fermentation and molecular/microbiology expertise from Queens University to Almac. Almac met the specific partnership objectives by not only sharing a program of work with academics at Queens, but also by attending training courses organized through University College London and embedding key learning back into the company.

In February 2013, AMRI and Codexis formed a SMARTSOURCING partnership. The collaboration will provide opportunities to combine the two companies’ capabilities and technologies for specific customer projects. Under the nonexclusive, two-year agreement, the companies will align their respective strengths to identify and implement new and improved manufacturing routes for select APIs with Codexis contributing directed evolution technology that enables enzyme discovery and optimization with AMRI’s process development and manufacturing capabilities, including using AMRI’s proprietary microbial strains.