Thermo Fisher acquires Irish API manufacturing site from GSK

Published: 17-May-2019

Thermo Fisher will pay $100 million to acquire the site but continue to produce APIs for GSK in the upcoming years

Thermo Fisher Scientific has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a drug substance manufacturing site in Cork, Ireland, from GlaxoSmithKline. The site is to cost Thermo Fisher approximately €90 (US$100) million in cash and will be used to expand capacity to meet customer demand for the development and commercial manufacturing of complex active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

With more than 400 employees, the site produces highly specialised APIs for treating diseases including childhood cancer, depression and Parkinson's.

The CDMO will continue to produce APIs for GSK under a multi-year supply agreement and plans to expand the use of the site to develop and produce complex APIs for other customers as well. The site contains 270 cubic metres of reactor capacity, 10 production buildings, an R&D pilot plant and lab infrastructure to support process development, scale-up and physical characterisation of APIs.

"The GSK Cork site will enhance our API offering by expanding our development and commercial capabilities to provide much-needed capacity for APIs currently in development," said Michel Lagarde, senior vice president and president of Pharma Services for Thermo Fisher Scientific. "This transaction is another great example of our strategy to build on our strong foundation by adding capacity and capabilities to our pharma services offering through a combination of capital investments and M&A."

This announcement follows the recently completed acquisition of Brammer Bio by Thermo Fisher, a large viral vector manufacturer for gene and cell therapies. Thermo Fisher is also investing $150 million to expand its sterile fill-finish sites in Monza and Ferentino, Italy, and Greenville, North Carolina. The company also has plans to complete the previously announced $50 million expansion of its St. Louis, Missouri, biologics facility later this year.

The acquisition will include all facilities, business operations and approximately 400 commercial manufacturing and R&D employees. For GSK Cork Site Director, Mike O’Sullivan, the move will offer a more sustainable future for the site. He believes the site was underutilised and was no longer a competitive fit within the GSK portfolio.

GSK is carrying out an overhaul of its manufacturing and drug development network, slimming down operation globally. This may just be the latest in a long line of strategic moves with this goal in mind.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Upon completion, the site will become part of Thermo Fisher's Pharma Services business within its Laboratory Products and Services Segment.

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