Saltigo Debuts as New Fine Chemicals Entity

February 16, 2006
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Informex, ORLANDO - Saltigo GmbH (Leverkusen, Germany, www.saltigo.com), newly formed from the fine chemicals business unit of Lanxess AG (Leverkusen, Germany, www.lanxess.com), made its debut at Informex in Orlando this week. Saltgio will officially launch as a new company in April. It will focus on custom manufacturing and be divided into three principal business lines: pharmaceuticals, specialties, and agrochemicals.

Informex, ORLANDO - Saltigo GmbH (Leverkusen, Germany, www.saltigo.com), newly formed from the fine chemicals business unit of Lanxess AG (Leverkusen, Germany, www.lanxess.com),  made its debut at Informex in Orlando this week. Saltigo will officially launch as a new company in April. It will focus on custom manufacturing and be divided into three principal business lines: pharmaceuticals, specialties, and agrochemicals.

"Saltigo begins its life with almost $480 million in annual fine chemicals sales, making it number two in the business from birth," said Axel C. Heitman, chairman of Lanxess's board of management at an Informex press briefing.

"Saltigo combines the flexibility of a midsized business with the financial strength of a major chemical player. And with its distinct corporate culture and dedicated team, I see Saltigo becoming a platform for future strategic moves in the fine chemicals industry."

Lanxess first announced the formation of Saltigo last November at the CPhI exhibition in Madrid. Saltigo is intent on building its pharmaceutical business line and its position in the US market.

"“We intend to systematically develop our specialty and pharmaceutical chemical lines, each of which account for around 25 percent of sales at present," said Alex Westerhaus, current head of the fine chemicals business unit of Lanxess Deutschland GmbH and designated managing director of Saltigo GmbH. "We see ourselves first and foremost as a partner for high-innovation, technology-driven, research-based companies. This is a sector which has remained largely unharmed by the damaging price wars with low-cost suppliers, particularly from Asia."

The US will be of particular importance for Saltigo. "We're keeping a keen eye on the highly lucrative pharmaceuticals market, which boosted a total sales volume of close to US $470 billion in 2004," said Westerhaus. "If we look at research spending in this sector by region, the huge significance of the USA becomes clear. It accounted for almost half of all R&D investment in 2003, almost US $30 billion. With this in mind, Saltigo will strengthen its commitment to the US market considerably in order to achieve growth targets in the pharmaceutical sector."

The Saltigo head outlined a series of investments the company is already making. The company has invested €1.5 million to integrate its small-volume production plants and upgrade these units. It has introduced "Plant 5," which consists of these upgraded units and parts of "ZeTO," its central organics pilot plant in Leverkusen, Germany.

      Saltigo also is investing roughly €0.5 million to expand its low-temperature capabilities. It is adding a new liquid nitrogen deep-freeze unit. Work has begun on the construction of a mobile package unit with an integrated heater for controlling reactor temperature in the range of -120 C to +120 C. The new unit is scheduled for completion by the middle of 2006.

      It also has formed a fluorine team, organized around its pharmaceuticals business line, to provide custom synthesis and support in fluorochemistry. "Nowadays, around half of all pharmaceutical and agrochemical intermediates and active ingredients contain fluorine," said Westerhaus. "We will help our customers meet these challenges-from the R&D phase onwards."

It also has commissioned a new parallel reactor for automated catalyst screening of phosgene reactions; the system is called Kaspar, derived from "catalyst screening of phosgene reactions with automated reactor systems."

Saltigo did not announce any expansion of good manufacturing practice (GMP) capacities, but opened the door for future changes. "We're currently in the process of analyzing and evaluating different options and will reach a decision in the next few months," said Westerhaus. "I don’t want to announce any details at this stage. Suffice to say that the GMP market offers great potential for us to increase our pharmaceuticals business in the long term."

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