India’s Piramal Pharma Solutions is expanding its presence in North America with the roughly $50 million acquisition of Ash Stevens, a Riverview, Mich.-based contract manufacturer of high-potency active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
The deal underscores continued growth in the contract API market, where Piramal is one of several companies adding capacity through expansion or acquisition.
It also highlights growing interest in U.S. production of APIs, even as it marks the end of the road for one of the longest-standing independent drug chemical makers in the U.S. More than 50 years old, Ash Stevens has been FDA-approved to manufacture APIs for 12 drugs, including Ariad Pharmaceuticals’ Iclusig and Millennium Pharmaceutical’s Velcade.
Piramal CEO Vivek Sharma notes that Ash Stevens broadens his company’s services in the key North American market, where it acquired Coldstream Laboratories, a Lexington, Ky.-based maker of injectable drug products, in 2015, and Torcan, a Toronto API manufacturer, in 2005. “We can now fulfill client requirements for a single source of supply for both high-potency APIs and drug products,” Sharma says.
Technology requirements for producing highly potent APIs guided Piramal in its decision to acquire in the U.S., adds Mark Cassidy, president of Piramal’s API business. “For the kind of products that the likes of Lexington and Ash Stevens support, you need very high quality standards as well as high environment, health, and safety standards. I didn’t see much in the way of highly potent or sterile acquisition targets in China or India.”
Cassidy adds that Piramal is also investing $37 million in its drug chemicals plant near Hyderabad, India.