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Informex Attendees Report Strong Business

Fine Chemicals: Fine and custom chemical firms buoyed by return of business from Asia

by Rick Mullin
February 25, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 8

The fine and custom chemical executives gathered in Anaheim, Calif., last week for the annual Informex exhibition reported that business continues to be strong in pharmaceuticals. A shift in contract manufacturing from China and India back to the West has provided a steady boost to the sector, they said.

Susan B. Billings, business development manager for Albany Molecular Research Inc., said drug and biotech companies are increasingly interested in working with contract research and manufacturing firms with integrated drug discovery capabilities, “and they are willing to pay for it.”

At the end of collaboration, Billings said, they want to have meaningful outcomes such as a clinical candidate that they can advance. AMRI has increased its medicinal chemistry resources in the U.S. by 50% since 2011, she said.

Ampac Fine Chemicals is currently installing its third small-scale, high-tech manufacturing line, or semiworks, at its California site to accommodate an increased demand for unique chemistry at small volumes, noted President Aslam Malik. “We are seeing demand for more complex, potent, and chiral chemistry,” he said, “but the volume is going down.”

Meanwhile, Asymchem, a U.S.-based firm that does all its manufacturing in China, has been investing in specialized flow chemistry and enzymatic manufacturing, according to Matt Johnson, director of chemical development. “We don’t want to be continually perceived as the cheap alternative to Western supply,” Johnson said.


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