Consort's Aesica buyout sets it up to jointly develop drugs and delivery devices

Consort CEO Jon Glenn

With its buyout of Aesica complete, the U.K's Consort is ready to fill more drug delivery devices, as well as an opportunity in the market. A specialist in developing inhalers, its Bespak device business will now be able to help companies take a drug from API manufacture, through joint development of the drug and device, and then onto the market.

The two companies had been working together on some products but having completed the £230 million ($374 million) deal Wednesday for the U.K.-based contract developer and manufacturer, Consort can now count Aesica's client base as its own. And that includes more than a dozen companies, including Big Pharma players like AbbVie ($ABBV), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Merck ($MRK).

Other devicemakers have seen melding drug and device development as a growth route. Becton Dickinson ($BDX) last year started producing generic injectable drugs from a plant in North Carolina. Within three weeks last year, it got FDA approval first for the injectable antihistamine diphenhydramine hydrochloride and then antiemetic metoclopramide injection.

The drugs are being manufactured by its BD RX subsidiary at the $100 million, 115,000-square-foot plant in Wilson, NC, that it opened in 2010. The company said at the time, it planned to roll out 20 to 30 products over the next several years.

In the case of Consort, it had been looking for at least a year for a way to diversify its business. Last year it bought a 19% interest in Atlas Genetics, a U.K. developer of point-of-care tests for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Consort will make test cartridges for Atlas' diagnostic tests. "We are excited by the acquisition of Aesica which represents a very strong fit with our existing strategy of diversifying into adjacent markets and technologies to capture additional value in the drug/device supply chain, Consort CEO Jon Glenn, said Wednesday in a statement.

- here's the release