Newcomers Buy Drug Production Plants | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: January 3, 2008

Newcomers Buy Drug Production Plants

Sales by Merck and Pfizer are part of manufacturing revamp efforts
Department: Business

Two relatively new entrants to the pharmaceutical chemicals business are buying plants that are being sold by drug firms as they restructure their manufacturing operations.

PRWT Services, a 20-year-old minority-owned business involved primarily in labor and facilities management, has acquired Merck & Co.'s Cherokee active pharmaceutical ingredients facility in Riverside, Pa. Its newly formed Cherokee Pharmaceuticals subsidiary has a five-year supply agreement with Merck worth $100 million to $200 million per year.

Philadelphia-based PRWT intends to invest in the Riverside plant, which employs 400 people, to support business and job growth. "By establishing a presence in the life sciences market, PRWT can now participate in an industry with tremendous growth potential and establish a strategic supplier relationship with Merck," says CEO Willie F. Johnson.

Separately, Keata Pharma, a subsidiary of Canada's PharmEng International, will purchase Pfizer's Arnprior, Ontario, formulation facility and retain its 175 employees. The deal includes a three-year supply agreement for Pfizer products; Keata will also manufacture for two other major drug companies under multiyear agreements. In November, the company opened a formulation development and manufacturing facility in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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