Alvogen opening $250M biologics plant in Iceland

Alvogen biologics plant in Iceland
Alvogen plant in Iceland

Alvogen, the small CMO and generics company with large aspirations, is about to realize one of them. It will open a biologics plant in Iceland next month where it intends to manufacture biosimilars.

The company is planning a June 3 grand opening of the $250 million, 11,800-square-meter (127,000-square-foot) manufacturing and biopharmaceutical development facility, which is located in the science park of the University of Iceland in Vatnsmyri. The company has regional hubs in New Jersey, Taiwan and Romania, but was started in 2009 by Icelandic entrepreneur Robert Wessman. The company has said the plant would employ about 200.

Alvogen was selling Hospira biosimilars in Central and Eastern Europe when it announced plans in 2014 to build the plant in anticipation of having its own line of biosimilars in the market by 2018. The companies have been developing half a dozen biosimilars and Wessman thinks his home country offers advantages because of its strong regulatory system, low operating costs and its location between the U.S. and the EU. 

Wessman started the company in 2009 after cashing out his interest in Actavis the year before. Actavis has since morphed several times and is now Ireland-based Allergan. Wessman still holds a minority stake in Alvogen, but last year a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners snapped up control of the company in a deal that valued Alvogen at $2 billion.

The company has its own lines of products, including generics and over-the-counter products, and also does contract manufacturing. It has been expanding, having spent $187 million in 2014 to buy Dream Pharma in South Korea to build its presence in the Asia-Pacific area.

In March, it announced it would pay an undisclosed amount to buy Wisconsin-based County Line Pharmaceuticals, which it said had 12 marketed products in the U.S. that include oral solutions, creams, ointments, gels and orally disintegrating tablets. It said County Line would add about $100 million to its annual sales.

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Alvogen makes a $250M biosimilars investment in Iceland