UPM putting plant it bought from Pfizer to more use

UPM Pharmaceuticals bought a former King Pharmaceuticals plant in Tennessee from Pfizer ($PFE) last year, with the idea that the large facility would allow it to take on commercial contracts. Now, it has that capacity.

The Baltimore, MD-based contract developer and manufacturer said it has a deal to manufacture two new ANDA products for the next 10 years that it has been helping generic drug maker Amerigen develop. The arrangement also includes development work for Amerigen on more products that could turn into commercial work. Amerigen is a privately held company founded in 2007 that has its own manufacturing facilities in Lyndhurst, NJ, as well as in China. It develops and manufactures generic drugs for the U.S. and China markets.

UPM bought the 475,000-square-foot plant in Bristol, TN, last May for an undisclosed sum with plans of transitioning from a company that focused only on early stage development to one that could provide a broader range of manufacturing capabilities. Pfizer acquired that facility in its $3.6 billion purchase of King Pharmaceuticals in 2011 and put it up for sale the next year. It was a particularly good fit for UPM. The company's CEO and chairman, John Gregory, founded King Pharmaceuticals in 1994, and so he and some of his team were already familiar with it.

When UPM bought the plant, Pfizer also kicked in an agreement for UPM to manufacture the lines of Pfizer products already being made there for two years. With the acquisition, UPM got the capacity to manufacture up to 3.5 billion tablets and 680 million capsules annually.

For several years, Pfizer has been trimming down its manufacturing network in the face of patent losses and has made efforts to sell its facilities. Amgen ($AMGN) bought one of its plants in Ireland in 2011, saving 280 jobs in the process. In 2012, Pfizer sold a 1.4-million-square-foot plant in the San Juan suburb of Caguas to Mexican drugmaker Neolpharma, which said it would keep the 130 employees.

- here's the UPM announcement