Patheon, DPx unload chemical operations to tighten focus on pharma

Patheon and its parent, DPx, have been on a buying and expansion binge since the company was created last year, grabbing up smaller CMOs to build out both capabilities and capacity. With an IPO in the works, more deals may be coming but the CDMO has ended up with operations that don't fit its model and is shedding those along the way, including two deals this week.

Patheon said that it is selling to Germany's LIVIA Group a facility in Italy, while parent DPx announced a management buyout of chemical businesses in Austria which is being financed by private investment group Ardian. Everyone was mum on terms of the deals.

Patheon said the facility in Capua, Italy, that LIVIA is buying is one of the largest independent microbial fermentation-based manufacturing facilities. The operation produces enzymes, proteins and small molecules for the food, feed, pharma, agrochemical and fine chemical industries. The operation, which has a 1,400m³ fermentor capacity, is both EMEA and FDA approved.

"Selling the Capua site is part of Patheon's efforts to focus its core business strategy as a leading global provider of outsourced, end-to-end pharmaceutical development and manufacturing services," Lukas Utiger, president of drug substance services at Patheon, said in a statement. "We elected to sell the operations to LIVIA Group, who is very focused on growing the operations and continuing to provide a positive work environment for employees."

Parent DPx said it is selling its exclusive synthesis (ES) and its maleic anhydride intermediates and specialties (IM) businesses based in Linz, Austria, to the businesses' management and Paris-based investment group Ardian. Again it was a way to stay focused on the work at hand. The buyers are taking on the 390 employees of the ES and IM operations. Those business generated €200 million ($218 million) in 2014, the company said.

In May, Patheon sold off a soft-gel capsule manufacturing facility in Mexico City to over-the-counter specialist Perrigo for $34 million in cash. Patheon ($PRGO) acquired the facilities a couple of years ago in its $255 million buyout of Mexico's gelatin capsules-and-coatings company Banner Pharmacaps. With softgel capabilities at other facilities, it said it no longer needed the Mexico operations.

DPx and Patheon have been mostly in the buying mode, though. In March Patheon announced two deals: One for Agere Pharmaceuticals, a Bend, OR-based company that helps clients improve the absorption rates of their medications, and one for IRIX Pharmaceuticals to get its expertise in making difficult APIs. Before that, DPx bought Gallus BioPharmaceuticals to fill out its biologics offerings.

In June, DPx said in an S-1 filing with the SEC that it intends to go to the public markets to raise money to pay down debt. While it listed a placeholder amount of $100 million, Renaissance Capital reported it thinks it will run closer to $700 million.

- here's the Patheon release on Livia
- and the Ardian release