SAFC Seeks to Build Footprint in India and China

February 8, 2007
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

St. Louis, MO, (Feb. 8)-SAFC, the custom manufacturing and fine chemicals unit of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, is seeking to build a footprint in Asia, eying possible acquisitions in India and China.

St. Louis, MO (Feb. 8)-SAFC (, the custom manufacturing and fine chemicals unit of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (St. Louis, MO,, is seeking to strengthen its presence in Asia, eying possible acquisitions in India and China. Frank Wicks, president of SAFC, spoke of the company’s plans at a briefing held in New York City last month.

Wicks said that SAFC is looking to establish a presence in Asia by gaining a CGMP manufacturing facility for API synthesis in India and a large-scale, flexible organics manufacturing facility in China, which could provide raw materials for SAFC businesses. “For China, we are open to an acquisition or establishing a joint venture, depending on what opportunities become available,” says Wicks. “For India, we are seeking commercial-scale CGMP capacity as a means to offer lower-cost production capabilities in our custom synthesis business.” 

These potential acquisitions follow several recent moves by SAFC to build its custom synthesis business, SAFC Pharma. These include: the acquisition of a large-scale CGMP manufacturing facility in Arklow, Ireland; the acquisition of Pharmorphix (Cambridge, England), a solid-state research studies company; a $12-million investment for a new 139,000-square foot medicinal chemistry facility in Bangalore, India; an expansion of its high-potency manufacturing facility in Madison, Wisconsin, and a $16-million investment for a new transgenic extraction and purification facility in St. Louis. Missouri, due for completion in mid-year 2007.

SAFC Pharma is one of four business segments of SAFC, which also includes SAFC Biosciences (which provides raw materials for cell-culture production), SAFC Supply Solutions (which provides customized raw materials to the pharmaceutical, diagnostics, and flavors and fragrances market), and SAFC HiTech, which supplies inorganic and customized materials, principally to the electronics industry.