Towa adds EU production in deal for Spanish generics maker

Japan's Towa has picked up a manufacturing plant near Barcelona that specializes in pellet production. (Pensa Investments) (Pensa Investements)

Japanese generics maker Towa Pharmaceutical has scored its first European manufacturing site with the purchase of the generics unit of Spain’s Esteve.

Towa is buying all of Pensa Investments, the generics division of the Spanish pharmaceutical company, for €320 million, a deal that is slated to be completed by the end of January. 

Pensa operates a plant near Barcelona that specializes in pellet production for modified release formulations. The unit does contract work as well as making drugs for Esteve. It produces 120 million units annually in more than 600 dose forms.

"I am happy that we can now build a foundation for full-scale overseas expansion by obtaining the sales networks that Pensa owns in Europe and the U.S., its know-how and knowledge on EMA/FDA regulations and commercial practices in each country, and its production facility in Europe,” Towa President Itsuro Yoshida said in a statement.

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Towa, which currently has all of its manufacturing in Japan, had revenues of nearly $1 billion in its last fiscal year. 

Esteve announced in 2018 that it intended to focus on branded and specialized drugs. It said in a statement that the sale of Pensa was the first step toward that plan. 

This is the second deal for manufacturing facilities in Spain in the last month. Earlier, Grupo Ferrer said it had sold its HealthTech BioActives nutraceuticals business to U.S. private investment group The Riverside Company for an undisclosed amount.