Patheon strikes again; deal for Agere its second in a week

Just days after saying it was buying contract manufacturer IRIX Pharmaceuticals to get its expertise in making difficult APIs, North Carolina contract development and manufacturing company Patheon has snapped up yet another competitor, this one a specialist in bioavailability.

Without disclosing how much it will pay, Patheon said Monday it has an agreement to buy Agere Pharmaceuticals, a Bend, OR, company that helps clients improve the absorption rates of their medications. The deal will give Patheon "scientific acumen and design automation" abilities that will allow it to compete in the low-solubility segment, Michael Lehmann, Patheon's president of global pharmaceutical development services, said in a statement.

Patheon is part of DPx, which was created last year in a $2.6 billion merger of Patheon and Netherlands-based DSM Pharmaceutical Products. DPx is 51% owned by private investment group JLL Partners and 49% by Royal DSM. It owns DPxFine Chemicals and Banner Life Sciences, as well as Patheon. Since its formation, DPx has been rolling up a number of CMOs to fill in or strengthen its capabilities.

Just 5 days ago, it said it would buy IRIX, which has manufacturing facilities in Greenville, NC, and Florence, SC, and manufactures APIs for high-potency drugs and schedule 1 through 4 controlled substances. While it did not disclose the terms of this deal either, banking sources told Reuters that Patheon was preparing to take out €150 million ($162 million) to help cover the cost. 

DPx bought Gallus BioPharmaceuticals last year to fill out its biologics offerings. Gallus' plants in St. Louis, MO, and Princeton, NJ, were added to sites in Groningen, the Netherlands, and Brisbane, Australia, that DSM had contributed to the company. Patheon also started on a $159 million expansion of its facility in Greenville, NC, last fall, a buildout that it has said will increase its employment there by nearly 50% in 5 years, adding 488 jobs to the roughly 1,000 employees already working at the facility.

- here's the release 
- more from Reuters