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Croda lands US funding for Pennsylvania lipids plant

Project follows UK firm’s 2020 acquisition of an Alabama producer

by Rick Mullin
June 30, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 24


A structure of a lipid.
An ionizable lipid called ALC-0315 is used to formulate the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.

Two years after acquiring Alabama-based Avanti Polar Lipids, Croda says it plans to build a second US lipid facility at a site it purchased in Lamar, Pennsylvania, a year ago.

Croda, which also manufactures lipids in Leek, England, will receive $75 million in funding from the US Department of Defense and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority as part of the federal government’s effort to bolster domestic supply of critical drug and vaccine ingredients.

The British firm says it will spend up to $58 million, bringing its total investment in the plant to $133 million.

Demand for lipids has soared in recent years with the development of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. Naked mRNA quickly degrades in the body. To get the genetic material to its target cells, vaccine developers combine it with a mixture of several sophisticated lipids to form lipid nanoparticles. Croda supplies Pfizer with lipids for its COVID-19 vaccine.

Croda’s news follows a similar arrangement between Evonik Industries and the US government in which the German firm will establish a lipid facility in Lafayette, Indiana. The US will finance $150 million of the $220 million project. Evonik supplies BioNTech with lipids for its COVID-19 vaccine.“L

ipid formulations are very popular and getting more popular,” says James Bruno, president of the consulting firm Chemical and Pharmaceutical Solutions. “The ability to get drugs out of the stomach helps a number of drugs and could increase bioavailability. Also, getting more production in the US only sweetens the deal politically.”



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