Sun looks to unload Ohm Labs New Jersey plants in manufacturing consolidation

When Ranbaxy Labs’ regulatory problems looked to thwart the exclusive release of a Diovan generic, its Ohm Labs in the U.S. became essential to a workaround that allowed the launch. But the New Jersey facilities are not essential to Sun Pharma, which now owns them, and the Indian company is reportedly looking to sell them as part of a manufacturing consolidation.

The facilities have been on the market for a couple of months and are expected to fetch about $100 million, reports CNBC TV-18 in India. Sun got the solid-dose, prescription and OTC manufacturing facilities in its 2015 buyout of Ranbaxy Laboratories.

Sun has been slimming down its manufacturing operations since the buyout, last year selling plants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Aurora, Illinois, to CDMO Frontida BioPharm. Before that, it struck a deal to sell a formulation plant in Bryan, Ohio, to Nostrum Laboratories, a Kansas City, MO-based generics maker, and announced the closure of a plant in Tipperary, Ireland.

At the point the FDA approved Ranbaxy to use the Ohm facilities to manufacture its generic of Novartis' Diovan in 2014, the drug had already been off patent for nearly two years, but the Ranbaxy plants that were to make it had been banned for manufacturing problems. Under pressure to let other generics producers take on the drug, the FDA finally agreed to let Ranbaxy make the drug at the Ohm site.

When Sun bought out Ranbaxy to become India’s largest drugmaker in 2015, it vowed it would invest in the four Ranbaxy plants that were banned by the FDA. But within months, Sun faced more pressing issues when the FDA cited its plant in Halol, India, a facility that is key to its U.S. drug production. Sun has been working with the FDA to resolve the problems there, but in a reinspection visit in December, it was slapped with a new Form 483, again impeding its ability to launch new drugs from the facility.