India's Torrent Pharma targets production from new plant at U.S., EU

India's Torrent Pharma says it has fired up a new production facility that will significantly expand its capacity to produce meds, most of which it intends for export.

The plant in Dahej is the company's fifth formulation plant and its second API plant, Torrent said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Torrent said it invested 650 crore ($98.6 million) in the first phase of the facility, which will have a capacity of 7.5 billion tablets and capsules and 24 metric tons of API a year.

Now that this phase of construction is complete, Torrent said it will launch into a second phase that will take capacity to 14 billion tablets and capsules and 80 metric tons of active ingredients.

"The plant will cater mainly to the more regulated international markets such as the U.S., Brazil, Germany" and is already approved or being evaluated by authorities in those countries, the drugmaker said.

Torrent has been on an expansion streak in the last several years, acquiring India's Elder Pharmaceuticals for $321.7 million in 2013, getting 30 Indian brands spanning treatment categories that included women's healthcare, pain management, wound care and nutraceuticals. There were reports that Sanofi ($SNY), Novartis ($NVS) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) were all looking at Elder, in parts or total, as a way of growing their emerging market business. Torrent followed that up this summer by snatching India's Zyg Pharma for a reported $56.5 million, picking up an FDA-approved plant and a new line of dermatology drugs in that deal.

Earlier this year, Torrent also got a boost as one of four winners of FDA approval for the sale in the U.S. of the first generic versions of Abilify, the blockbuster antipsychotic from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and Japan's Otsuka Pharmaceuticals.

- find the BSE filing here (PDF)