Plant that Patheon wanted to sell gets investment

Exparel--Courtesy of Pacira

A U.K. plant that the former Patheon was ready to bail on two years ago will now get a financial shot in the arm. It and client Pacira will partner on manufacturing suites to provide additional capacity to produce Pacira's ($PCRX) analgesic, Exparel.

"Exparel is an ideal product for our Swindon facility, which we have recently upgraded to focus strategically on manufacturing specialty products in dedicated suites," Jim Mullen, chief executive officer of DPx, said in a statement.

The companies said the first suite, expected to be done in two or three years, will be a "mirror" of one already producing the extended-release postsurgical pain medication at Pacira's facility in San Diego, CA. Pacira will invest about $40 million to $50 million in the Swindon facility initially. A second suite will be added there at some later date.

DPx is in charge of construction of the manufacturing suites as well as installation and validation of the manufacturing equipment. It will then handle the commercial manufacture of Exparel. The Parsippany, NJ-based Pacira has responsibility for the design and purchase of the equipment for manufacturing the drug at the Swindon site and will see to the technology transfer. It is a turnabout for the once-troubled facility, which Patheon tried to unload in 2012. When it was unable to sell it, the company started ramping down production while Patheon worked through troubled finances. 

But the CMO has seen a big turnaround in the past couple of years.That culminated recently with the creation of DPx out of the combo of Patheon and a unit of Royal DSM of the Netherlands. Private equity outfit JLL Partners controls 51% of the resulting DPx, with Royal DSM holding the minority share. The new company is one of the largest contract manufacturers in the world now and expects to bank $2 billion in revenue this year.

- here's the announcement