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Business

Contract Research Aptuit will sell clinical-trial supply unit to Catalent

by Lisa M. Jarvis
August 29, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 35

Aptuit has agreed to sell its clinical-trial supply business to Catalent Pharma Solutions for $410 million. The Greenwich, Conn.-based contract research and manufacturing firm says the deal will enable it to pay off its debt and narrow its focus on early-stage drug development.

The sale includes Aptuit facilities in Kansas City, Mo.; Mount Laurel and Allendale, N.J.; Bathgate, Scotland; and Deeside, Wales, that package drugs for clinical trials. It also encompasses a distribution hub in Singapore and an informatics group with about 900 employees.

Aptuit will retain its discovery and early-stage development facilities in addition to its active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing capabilities.

“We did not have this for sale,” Aptuit CEO Timothy C. Tyson tells C&EN about the clinical-trial supply business, but the firm decided to entertain the offer when it was approached. Aptuit will walk away from the sale debt-free, he says, and realign its business on the basis of how customers buy services.

Since its formation in 2005, Aptuit has sought to position itself as a “one-stop shop” for biotech and pharmaceutical companies seeking drug discovery and development services. Although the sale of the clinical supply unit might appear to diverge from that goal, Tyson claims that customers are buying services in two distinct halves of the drug development cycle: from discovery to Phase IIa and from Phase IIb to market.

Because Aptuit lacks large-scale manufacturing capabilities, it has limited ability to meet the demands of the second half of the cycle. By selling the clinical supply unit, Tyson says, the firm’s focus will be on customers involved in discovery through midstage development.

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