Boehringer Ingelheim looks for a buyer for its troubled Bedford operation

Boehringer Ingelheim is in the midst of closing down its troubled Ben Venue generic sterile injectables facility in Ohio after deciding it was not worth pouring more money into its rehabilitation. But given that there is growth in generic and contract injectable manufacturing, the German company hopes someone might want to take it off its hands.

Its Bedford Laboratories subsidiary has asked Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help it scare up a buyer, Reuters reports. The banking group has been hired "to educate potential buyers about the Bedford Laboratories business" and its Bedford, OH, manufacturing facility, a spokeswoman told the news service.

That is the site that became the epicenter of supply issues and drug shortages, Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Doxil among them, after FDA concerns led it to close in 2011 to undertake a massive remediation. The company signed a consent decree this year covering the facility, although the FDA allowed it to continue to manufacture 100 essential drugs, including J&J's ovarian cancer drug, for which drugmakers could not find alternative suppliers. J&J and Boehringer are in a legal battle over the supply interruption.

The company in October started laying off the 1,100 employees who work at the complex, saying it would close down production by the end of the year. The company said that while it had already invested $350 million in upgrades at the facility, it projected it would suffer $700 million in operating losses over the next 5 years to keep it open.

Reuters points out it is hard to know what value other companies might see in the business. Sterile injectable manufacturing is growing as more biologic drugs are approved, and Bedford does have customers that are now out looking for suppliers. Mylan ($MYL) is in the process of buying the Strides Arcolab sterile injectable business Agila Specialities for $1.6 billion. But that business includes 9 manufacturing facilities in India, Brazil and Poland, 8 of which have been approved by the FDA. The news service checked with Mylan, Novartis ($NVS) and Pfizer ($PFE) to see if any of them had interest but they all declined to comment.

- read the Reuters story

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