Saneca Pharma gets bigger by going smaller, expands small batch production


Saneca Pharmaceuticals, a Slovakia-based CDMO that specializes in opiate APIs, is getting bigger with small batch API production.

The Hlohovec-based company said this week that it is expanding its suite of equipment within its 5 API production units to reinforce its opiate and synthetic drug development and production. It is adding several smaller reactors that will make it possible to produce batches as small as 1 kg to 30 kg in a new lab that can simulate large-scale production processes.

A spokesperson for the company said Saneca is investing €3.5 million ($3.9 million) and expects to add 5 employees as a result.  

While it is a modest investment by Big Pharma standards, it s a big deal for Saneca. “This is a very exciting time for our business,” Saneca CEO Anthony Sheehan said in a statement. He said the new capabilities will allow the site to handle work from phase III development to pilot plant to commercial production.

Saneca operates from a site that has been making APIs for 75 years. The company last year did try to expand production beyond Slovakia when it acquired Suir Pharma, a small and struggling CMO in County Tipperary, Ireland but the deal didn't work out. 

The two-plant operation had been sold by Germany’s Stada in 2012 to German restructuring specialist Mutares. Mutares then sold it for an undisclosed amount last year to Saneca but the Slovakian CDMO decided to put it into liquidation when losses at the facility continued to mount. Suir had reportedly run into problems with a Chinese API that prevented it from manufacturing a key product, running up $7.2 million (€4.9 million) in losses in 15 months. About 130 workers lost their jobs when Saneca decided to pull the plug on the operation.

- here’s the release

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