With $35M investment in its flagship New York plant, Curia continues its busy summer of expansion

John Ratliff
Curia CEO John Ratliff sees "a huge open door to the biologic space," explaining his company's recent expansion efforts. (John Ratliff)

It’s been a transformational summer for CDMO Curia. While the company has shortened its name from Albany Molecular Research Inc., it has lengthened its reach.

On consecutive days in July, Curia revealed two acquisitions. Now, less than a month later, the company says it's spending $35 million to beef up capacity at its flagship plant in Rensselaer, New York.

The investment will more than double the site’s batch-size scaling and product output. It also will allow the plant to produce a variety of new products and enable Curia to meet the growing demand for high-potency API manufacturing, the company said.

Curia expects the upgrades of the more than 100-year-old factory to be complete in 18 months. The expansion will bring new technical jobs to the plant, which currently manufactures more than 50 products.

“The advances we have designated for the site will enhance our flexibility, efficiency and scale, allowing us to meet our customers’ current and future complex manufacturing needs,” CEO John Ratliff said in a statement. 

Earlier this month, Curia submitted an application to the Drug Enforcement Agency to manufacture a dozen controlled substances including marijuana, oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl from its plant in Rensselaer.

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It’s been a dizzying few weeks for Curia, which revealed in late July that it had acquired contract manufacturers Integrity Bio and Lake Pharma. Integrity, of Camarillo, Calif., provides Curia with a West Coast presence and a plant that brings 110 employees and specializes in injectables.

LakePharma, which employs 235 people at six sites in California, Massachusetts and Texas, brings biologics R&D expertise. The addition allows Curia to expand its viral vector repertoire and capitalize on opportunities in the cell and gene therapy arena, the company said.

Curia expects both acquisitions to complete in the third quarter. The company has not disclosed terms of the deals.

Curia also has been involved in the pandemic fight, performing fill-finish duties for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at its site in Albuquerque, N.M. The company also produces lipid excipients for Pfizer and BioNTech's shot.

RELATED: Curia, on heels of rebrand, snaps up CDMO Inegrity Bio to expand westward

Curia traces its roots to 1991, when it opened in lab space at Siena College. A year later the company developed fexofenadine, the active ingredient of popular allergy drug Allegra, and in 1995 it sold the marketing rights to Aventis of Germany.

In most of its three decades in existence, Curia has been focused on end-to-end small molecule manufacturing. But recently, Curia has broadened its footprint and its ambitions. 

In 2014 the company had 1,300 employees, with more than half of them at headquarters in Albany or the factory in Rensselaer. Today, after several acquisitions, Curia employs 3,400 people at 21 sites in the U.S., Europe and Asia. 

"We saw a huge open door to the biologic space," Ratliff told Fierce Pharma last month, explaining Curia's most recent expansion.