India's Piramal says it will snatch up university CDMO for its injectables skills

Contract manufacturers are actively hunting deals that will put some shine on their own expertise, and university-born operations seem to have caught their attention of late. India's Piramal Enterprises said it was on the cusp of buying a CDMO founded at the University of Kentucky. That comes weeks after Japan's Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies bought half of a vaccine manufacturing specialist from the Texas A&M University System.

Piramal announced on Friday that it would pay the university $30.65 million for Coldstream Laboratories, of which $5.65 million is for its FDA-approved sterile injectable facility on the Research Park Campus of the university in Lexington, and $25 million more for the company's shares. Piramal said the acquisition will help it move further into the sterile injectables market.

A university vice president told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Piramal intends to make the location home to its U.S. pharma manufacturing operations. He said the Indian company is expected to keep the 97 employees who work there and is considering expanding the building.

Piramal is in a number of areas, from drug development to real estate. In August, it said it intended to exit early-stage drug development and focus instead on later-stage development work on molecules.

This is the second university-tied deal announced within weeks. In late December, the contract manufacturing division of Japan's Fujifilm completed a deal in which it picked up 49% of vaccine specialist Kalon Biotherapeutics, a player in the U.S. pandemic defenses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it said that if milestones are met, it may buy the rest of Kalon.

The vaccinemaker, founded in 2011, is located at a university center in Bryan-College Station, where Kalon is in the mix with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) on a $91 million manufacturing facility. It is one of three operations the U.S. government is helping fund as a way to guarantee access to vaccine manufacturing in the case of a pandemic. Kalon's facilities include high-containment manufacturing that could be used for the production of vaccines not only for influenza, but also other viruses like anthrax and Ebola.

- here's the release
- read the Herald-Leader story