Novartis sells pair of manufacturing plants as Sandoz strategic review rolls on

Novartis is pawning off manufacturing operations on both sides of the Atlantic.

First, the company has reached a deal to sell its Ringaskiddy campus near Cork, Ireland, to contract manufacturer Sterling Pharma Solutions. Separately, CDMO compatriot Delpharm has completed its acquisition of a Quebecois manufacturing plant from Novartis’ generics unit, Sandoz.

Sterling and Novartis were mum on the financial details of their agreement, which is expected to close in 2022’s fourth quarter. The CDMO is set to get its hands on Novartis’ 111-acre Irish site, which includes three active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing buildings plus facilities to support development and scale-up, Sterling said in a release.

The site currently produces drug ingredients for a range of therapeutic areas. As part of the deal, Sterling and Novartis will agree to an ongoing supply agreement from the Ringaskiddy facility, while Novartis’ workforce there is poised to join the Sterling team.

Novartis currently employs about 250 staffers at the Ringaskiddy site, The Irish Times reports.

The Ringaskiddy campus will become Sterling’s fifth facility across the U.K., Europe and the U.S., growing the company’s total workforce to more than 1,000 employees.

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Meanwhile, Delpharm has locked up Sandoz Canada’s Boucherville manufacturing plant in Quebec, which is the biggest sterile injectable production facility in the country, Contract Pharma reports. The Boucherville site supplies drugs to both U.S. and Canadian healthcare systems.

The plant purchase marks Delpharm’s second production site in Canada, Sébastien Aguettant, chairperson and CEO of Delpharm, said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to welcome aboard the Boucherville team and we look forward to working with them in order to provide a wide range of injectables for our customers that meet the most rigorous quality and reliability standards set by pharmaceutical regulatory authorities,” the CEO continued.

Much like the Sterling deal, Delpharm will continue to produce Sandoz Canada injectable products at the plant, with Sandoz retaining full commercial responsibility, Contract Pharma reports. Delpharm also plans to invest in the site, the publication added.

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The news comes as Novartis puts its generics outfit under a magnifying glass. In October, the Swiss pharma major kicked off a strategic review of Sandoz, noting that all options were on the table, including retaining the business and a potential separation.

Sandoz has reportedly attracted several suitors so far, such as Swedish-based investment group EQT and the Struengmann family of Germany, who provided the investment power behind Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine partner BioNTech.

Meanwhile, investor groups Blackstone and Carlyle could team up to make a $25 billion bid for the generic drugmaker, Bloomberg reported early last month.

Sandoz generated (PDF) full-year sales of $9.6 billion in 2021.