Fresenius moves forward with two U.S. expansions after killing Akorn deal

Fresenius Kabi has two expansion projects underway in the U.S., including at this site in Wilson, North Carolina. (Fresenius Kabi)

Fresenius Kabi missed an opportunity to quickly bulk up in sterile manufacturing when its $5 billion deal to buy Akorn imploded last year, but its organic expansion efforts in the U.S. are moving forward. One of those, which will add 450 jobs, has reached a milestone. 

The German drugmaker last week held a so-called topping off ceremony, a traditional construction milestone, for a $100 million project in Wilson, North Carolina, the North Carolina Biotechnology Centers reports. The expansion, which promises to provide 445 jobs to the 100 it already has at the site, is slated to be completed in 2022. Fresenius makes prefilled syringes at the site, which it acquired from Becton Dickinson in 2017.  

RELATED: FDA cited Akorn's New Jersey plant even as drugmaker fought Fresenius in court over abandoned buyout 

Fresenius announced the expansion in 2017, just months after it initially committed to buying U.S.-based sterile drug competitor Akorn. The Akorn deal would have significantly expanded its production, with two plants in the U.S. and one in India. That deal went south last year, however, after Fresenius uncovered quality manufacturing issues at Akorn that it said it was unaware of when it agreed to buy the sterile drug producer. After a trial, a judge said Fresenius was within in its rights to cancel the deal.

Fresenius also has an expansion project running concurrently at its sterile injectables manufacturing site in Melrose Park, Illinois, near its U.S. headquarters in Lake Zurich, Illinois. That $250 million, decade-long project includes new buildings for aseptic filling lines, expanded lyophilization capabilities and formulation areas, as well as a warehouse. There also will be an administration building, laboratories, office space and cafeteria space, all of it tied to the existing manufacturing site and intended as a showcase for customers.

Fresenius in February reported (PDF) 2018 revenues of  €33.5 billion, up 6% in constant currency. Sales in North America, which make up about 40% of its business, were up 3%.

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