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Mood is bright at new drug ingredients show

Attendance was strong and spirits were buoyant at CPhI North America

by Rick Mullin
May 18, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 21

Credit: Rick Mullin/C&EN
Executives huddle at the Neutec booth at CPhI North America
Photo of executives huddling at the Neutec booth at CPhI North America.
Credit: Rick Mullin/C&EN
Executives huddle at the Neutec booth at CPhI North America

Attendees at CPhI North America, the new U.S. iteration of a popular European pharmaceutical ingredients trade show, found the sector in continued exuberance. Investment has marched on, especially in the U.S., as contract development and manufacturing firms respond to demand for more capacity. And most firms reported significant sales growth.

But discussion at the event, held in Philadelphia from May 16–18, was dominated by news of two acquisitions: Thermo Fisher’s plan to acquire the drug services firm Patheon for $7.2 billion (see story above) and Novacap’s agreement to buy control of the French drug ingredients maker PCAS in a deal that values PCAS at more than $250 million.

Many were puzzled by the combination of Thermo Fisher, a major supplier of laboratory instruments, and Patheon. Others, though, saw the emergence of a huge “one-stop-shop” for the drug industry through the combination of Thermo Fisher’s clinical delivery business and Patheon’s manufacturing services.

Novacap’s acquisition of PCAS, though a much smaller deal, is the second move by the venture-backed firm to expand a pharmaceutical business originally composed of generic analgesics picked up from Rhodia in 2003. Novacap acquired Germany’s Chemie Uetikon in 2015.

Among the companies at CPhI announcing investments was Cambrex, which plans to spend $2.4 million to increase reactor capacity by 30% at the former PharmaCore, a North Carolina kilogram-scale drug manufacturer that Cambrex acquired last year.

CPhI North America, which essentially replaces the Informex trade show, claimed 7,500 attendees and 630 exhibitors, figures that are more than triple what Informex drew to New Orleans last year. Both brands are owned by UBM.


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