CDMO Cambrex flips its aggressive buyout script with $2B sale to Permira Funds

Cambrex manufacturing
Small-molecule drug manufacturer Cambrex will sell to Permira Funds for about $2 billion. (Cambrex)

Known for aggressive acquisitions of its own, CDMO Cambrex is now the target of a buyout bid—this time to the tune of $2 billion.

Private equity firm Permira Funds will buy East Rutherford, New Jersey-based Cambrex for about $2 billion in a “strong endorsement of our strategy," Cambrex CEO Steve Klosk said in a release.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter, presuming shareholders and regulators approve.


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Cambrex, which makes small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients, has built itself into a top-tier contract developer and manufacturer after two major CDMO acquisitions last year.

RELATED: Cambrex adds Avista Pharma to the fold in $250M deal

In November, Cambrex picked up Avista Pharma for about $252 million in cash from private equity firm Ampersand Capital Partners.

Cambrex said the deal gave it a foothold in the market for early-stage small molecule development and testing services, and included the acquisition of four facilities focused on analytical testing, early-stage process chemistry, formulation development, manufacturing and solid-state chemistry services. Avista’s 330-employee workforce was also transferred over to Cambrex in the deal.

That purchase followed an even larger buyout in September, when Cambrex took over dosage-form CDMO Halo Pharma and two additional manufacturing plants for $425 million.

That deal included plants in Whippany, New Jersey, and Montreal, comprising a total of 430,000 square feet of space. The Halo purchase also added 450 employees to Cambrex’s workforce.

RELATED: Cambrex opening new high-potency API facility in U.S.

Cambrex has not only aggressively acquired other CDMOs but also expanded its own supply chain.

In April, the CDMO completed work on a $24 million high-potency API addition in Charles City, Iowa. The expansion included four reactors and 12 new employees, all in an effort to boost the company’s small molecule API production.

And in a move to amp up its North Carolina production in September, Cambrex acquired a leased 35,000-square-foot facility it operates in High Point, as well as an adjacent 45,000-square-foot building, to establish a “center of excellence” for API clinical supply and process development, it said.

Cambrex said the company expected to add 150 employees at that facility by the time the expansion was completed.

RELATED: Private equity fund buys out sterile injectables maker LSNE

Meanwhile, Permira has made waves in the CDMO field after its purchase of sterile injectables maker LSNE in late 2017 and its rumored interest in a purchase of Bayer’s animal health division.

The LSNE purchase included three manufacturing facilities located in New Hampshire that provide lyophilization services to pharma, biotech and medical device clients. 

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