Hikma acquisition lands 2 plants in Egypt

Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the Middle East-based drugmaker that has had some plant problems in the U.S., has picked up manufacturing capacity as it solidifies its position in the Egyptian market.

The company announced that it would pay $22.2 million to acquire the Egyptian Company for Pharmaceuticals & Chemical Industries, known as EPCI. As part of the deal, it gets 35 products in 46 dosage forms and strengths, including three "original cephalosporin anti-infective brands for the Egyptian market." The deal is slated to close by Feb. 14.

With the EPCI purchase, Hikma is getting a general formulations plant in Egypt as well as a facility dedicated to making cephalosporin drugs. Hikma CEO Said Darwazah said, "Since we entered the Egyptian market in 2007, we have been rapidly growing our presence. This acquisition will further accelerate that growth, expanding our product portfolio and adding additional manufacturing capacity and technologies."

Jordan-based Hikma owns and operates West-Ward Pharmaceutical in the U.S. West-Ward's sterile injectables business has been going great guns in the face of shortages caused by plant problems at other drugmakers, while its own solids plant had to be closed to fix problems. The company announced in November that it expected its plant in Eatontown, NJ, to be closed until mid-January while it fixed problems after the FDA found "further observations." The FDA in February nailed West-Ward with a warning letter over manufacturing and testing issues that led to the release of lithium and digoxin tablets that failed size specifications.

- here's the release