Piramal picks up former G&W oral solid dose plant in push for U.S. customers

Indian CDMO Piramal Pharma Solutions has been aggressively looking for a private equity partner to expand its operations around the globe. Not content to wait on a deal, however, Piramal has placed a big bet on its U.S. operations with the purchase of a former G&W Laboratories site.

Piramal has acquired (PDF) a former G&W oral solid dose plant in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, to expand its finished drug CDMO capacity on U.S. shores, the Indian firm said Monday.

The 31.5-acre facility includes 221,000 square feet of manufacturing space, with 195,000 square feet of GMP area, Piramal said, and employs about 100 workers.

Piramal will use that capacity to expand its U.S. offerings in tablets and capsules, but the Sellersville site can also churn out creams, ointments and oral liquids, Piramal said.

Prior to buying the Pennsylvania plant, Piramal's solid dose production was based solely in the U.K. and India, but growing demand stateside helped push the company toward producing finished products in the U.S. The CDMO is also setting up the site as the possible home for "COVID-19 management drug opportunities" in the event the U.S. government looks for more capacity.

“Many of our customers are looking for U.S.-based manufacturing partners to expand and support their pipeline," Piramal CEO Peter DeYoung said in a release. "This acquisition strengthens our ability to partner with them on best-in-class drug products."

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Piramal's big buy stateside comes as the Indian CDMO actively pursues a $500 million stake sale to fund its aggressive expansion efforts around the globe.

Boston-based equity fund TA is in discussions to buy about 20% of Piramal for as much as $500 million, Bloomberg reported in May, citing anonymous sources. Piramal had hoped to strike a deal by this month, Bloomberg reported, but was likely sidetracked by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Piramal maintains operations in North America, the U.K. and India, according to its website, and offers services from preclinical development through commercial manufacturing of APIs and finished product. Its sites are approved by regulators in the U.S., Europe and Japan, the company said.

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Among its North American sites is an API facility in Riverview, Michigan, which Piramal purchased in 2016 for $53 million and expanded earlier this year. It plowed $10 million into new capacity for high-potency APIs and added 50 jobs there in January.

The Michigan expansion followed Piramal's $55 million investment in API capabilities worldwide. In 2017, the CDMO shelled out that amount to upgrade manufacturing automation and IT across its entire network. That round of spending included expanding its early R&D capabilities at a site in the U.K.

Piramal's expansion in the U.S. comes as the U.S. government has made a big push to establish secure manufacturing and supply chains for pandemic-related drugs tied to COVID-19. The government in recent months has shelled out billions to help grow its national stockpile through targeted manufacturing deals, including to help flesh out supply of potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct an error.