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Lonza to Sell two Capsule Sites to NextPharma

20.01.2021 - Swiss CDMO Lonza said it intends to unload two of its capsule production sites, at Ploermel, France, and Edinburgh, Scotland, for an undisclosed sum to London-based CDMO NextPharma. The proposed deal is subject to regulatory approval. According to reports, most of the affected employees are expected to transfer to the new owner.

Both the French site employing around 260 permanent staff and the Scottish facility with 130 staff produce liquid-filled hard capsules (including Licaps-based products) and softgels  (both high potent and hormonal products) for the pharmaceutical and consumer health and nutrition markets.

With the divestment, Lonza said it plans to exit both softgels and liquid-filled hard capsules for the pharma market but retain capability for feasibility studies as part of its technology offering to customers in consumer health and nutrition applications.

In the latter application, the company will continue to produce lipid capsules at its plants at Colmar, France; Greenwood, South Carolina, USA and Sagamihara, Japan.  Lonza said capsules, including Licaps for nutrition, remain core to its portfolio, which it beefed up with the 2017 acquisition of then US-based Capsugel for $5.5 billion.

The Swiss player recently announced it would spend 85 million Swiss francs  ($93 million) to expand capsule manufacturing capacity by 15%, or 30 billion capsules annually. The expansion will be rolled out across eight production sites globally, including Bornem, Belgium; Haryana, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; Puebla, Mexico and Suzhou, China, in addition Colmar, Greenwood, and Sagamihara.

NextPharma specializes in oral and topical (including sterile ophthalmic) finished dosage forms. In picking up the Lonza assets, the CDMO said it plans  to develop and broaden its technology offering into lipid based finished dosage forms, softgels and liquid-filled hard capsules) along with offering high potency capabilities and New Chemical Entity development services to both existing and new customers.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist

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