Boehringer mulls sale of generic plant as stateside shakeup continues

Boehringer Ingelheim is considering severing more of its ties to drug production in Ohio. The latest asset to go up for sale is Roxane Labs, a Columbus, Ohio-based generics business that also produces some of Boehringer's patent-protected drugs.

Bloomberg broke news of the possible sale of Roxane Labs for as much as €2 billion ($2.3 billion) on Wednesday. Boehringer confirmed it is considering its options, in part because the development and sale of generics is outside of its core business. The German drugmaker has already lessened its links to generics and drug production in Ohio by offloading its troubled Ben Venue Laboratories injectables business to Hikma.

Roxane Labs is located just a two-hour drive from the Ben Venue plants that caused Boehringer so many headaches, but the geographic proximity is one of the sites' few similarities. Roxane Labs has a relatively clean regulatory record, with a 2006 recall among the only black marks against its name. A spokesperson told Reuters the business is also performing well financially, but exactly how well is unclear.

Even so, Boehringer may decide it is better served by pocketing the €2 billion the sale could generate or swapping the operation with assets held by another drugmaker. The sale would offload a small-molecule production site at a time when the future of the industry is increasingly tied to biologics. Having invested in a network of biologics plants, Boehringer is now using them to serve other firms. This week Sanofi ($SNY) signed up to use Boehringer plants for monoclonal antibody production.

- read Bloomberg's article
- check out Reuters' take
- and the Sanofi news