Spanish sterile injectable player gets snapped up

Capacity and expertise in sterile injectable drug production is considered a hot property these days as a number of drug companies look for an opportunity to jump in or burnish their skills in that area. A generic injectable drug maker in Spain has attracted a buyer for just that reason.

Altan Pharma, a newly formed Irish specialty drug company, has snapped up the GES Group, a Madrid-based company that has been selling generic injectables to Spain's hospital market since 1985. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Altan said it had received a €34.5 million ($38.7 million) investment for the deal from Ireland-based life science equity investor Malin. The company is also using additional equity and debt financing to complete the acquisition.

GES Group has a drug production facility in Madrid as well as two plants making drip bags, according to its website. GES also exports to other countries in Europe as well as in Latin America and Asia, Altan pointed out. "GES' manufacturing expertise and international distribution network provide an attractive foundation for building Altan's global specialty pharmaceutical business," Altan CEO Guillermo Herrera said in a statement.

The global generic sterile injectables market is projected to grow from $37 billion in 2013 to $70 billion in 2020, Altan pointed out. That kind of growth is attracting a number of players to jump in or beef up their operations in that area. Pharma giant Pfizer ($PFE) has struck a $17 billion deal to buy Lake Forest, IL-based Hospira ($HSP), the largest maker of generic sterile injectable drugs. Pfizer last year struck a deal worth up to $360 million to buy New Jersey-based InnoPharma, which Pfizer said specializes in really tricky sterile injectables in treatment areas such as cancer and central nervous system disorders.

But a host of other small deals have revolved around sterile injectable production in the past few years. Par Pharmaceuticals paid $490 million last year to pick up JHP Pharmaceuticals, and Jordan-based Hikma is investing up to $300 million for Bedford Laboratories, the generic injectable drug unit of Boehringer Ingelheim, to expand its own established sterile injectable business. In 2013, Mylan ($MYL) paid $1.75 billion to buy Agila Specialties, the sterile injectable business of India's Strides Arcolab.

- here's the Altan announcement