PCI buys contract manufacturer Penn Pharma in $215M deal

PCI Chief Executive Bill Mitchell

Wales-based contract developer and manufacturer Penn Pharma last year opened a new manufacturing facility to handle highly potent compounds. Packaging Coordinators Inc. (PCI) is in the midst of building a 97,000-square-foot storage and distribution facility in the U.S. Now the two companies will put those operations together.

Philadelphia-based PCI has agreed to buy Penn from London-based private equity firm LDC for £127 million (about $215.3 million). LDC first invested in the contract manufacturer in 2007 with a £33 million stake. PCI is principally owned by investor Frazier Healthcare as well as several other private equity firms.

"This addition expands our vision of lifecycle support from clinical trials through commercialization for our clients' lifesaving therapies," PCI Chief Executive Bill Mitchell said in a statement.

PCI is a combination of the former Catalent Pharma Solutions packaging business and the former AmerisourceBergen ($ABC) pharma packaging business. Both were acquired in private investment deals headed by Seattle-based Frazier. Along with partners, Frazier paid $308 million last year for AndersonBrecon, the AmerisourceBergen business, and merged it into PCI. That was only part of its rapid expansion moves.

Last year Penn opened a £14 million ($21.3 million), 15,000-square-foot contained facility at its base in South Wales. It had fast-tracked the facility, moving from the initial announcement to starting production in just over a year. Several months later it announced plans to expand it further with another £3 million ($4.56 million) investment because demand was so strong.

High containment work has been a hot area for contract manufacturers as drugmakers focus more efforts on cytotoxic drugs that target specific cancers. Contract services company Aptuit this month said it will invest $1 million in its facility in Glasgow, Scotland, to expand its capacity to manufacture sterile cytotoxic liquid and lyophilized drug products. Spain's Idifarma this year added capabilities to its site in Navarra.

- here's the LDC statement
- here's the PCI announcement