Aceto strengthens focus on pharma & biopharma with acquisitions and facility investments

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/simoncarter
Pic:getty/simoncarter

Related tags: upstream, API, Cell culture, Gmp

Over the last 18 months, Aceto has made a series of manufacturing acquisitions, allowing it to better serve customers in biopharmaceutical, vaccine and pharmaceutical industries. It is now investing in several of its newly-acquired North American facilities: while keeping an eye out for further acquisition opportunities.

Aceto is a global manufacturer and supplier of differentiated specialty ingredients: offering over 3,000 chemical compounds for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, agricultural and specialty chemical industries. The company this week announced it has consolidated and integrated six manufacturing acquisitions: turbo-charging its offer in the biopharma industry.

Its spending spree includes the acquisition of A&C; A&C Bio Buffer; Cascade Chemistry and Finar.

“These acquisitions make a significant difference,”​ Gilles Cottier, CEO, told BioPharma-Reporter.

"Aceto historically offered a few niche raw materials utilized in the biopharmaceutical industry, but overall we had a modest presence.  Our acquisition of A&C, A&C Bio Buffer, and Finar changed that equation substantially, significantly enlarging our footprint in life sciences."​ 

Building out a portfolio of components for upstream and downstream processing

Aceto started eying up demand for high-quality critical GMP excipients and raw materials in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sectors pre-COVID.

However, it notes that the pandemic has highlighted the fragility in global supply chains, making its strategy more relevant than ever.

Aceto's manufacturing acquisitions

  • A&C ​- a global GMP manufacturer of specialty excipients, buffers, process solutions and raw materials for the biopharmaceutical sector.
  • A&C Bio Buffer​- a GMP manufacturer of custom buffer and chemical blend products used in the manufacturing of biopharmaceutical drug products and vaccines.
  • Cascade Chemistry ​- a manufacturer of APIs, regulatory starting materials and advanced intermediates, enabling Aceto to provide customers enhanced support throughout the drug development process and greater access to expanded North American manufacturing.
  • Finar​ - a manufacturer, supplier and distributor of pharmaceutical excipients, lab chemicals, aquaculture inputs and food grade additives.
  • Islechem ​- a specialty chemical manufacturing organization that also provides contract research and development, analytical services and technical support services.
  • Syntor Fine Chemicals ​- a fine chemical manufacturer offering process development and R&D services.

“Aceto historically offered a robust network of suppliers to solve customer supply challenges, particularly for small molecules,"​ said Cottier. "The acquisitions allow us to also offer inhouse manufacturing solutions for a variety of routine and specialty products, including biologics, and enhance our R&D and development capabilities, with our R&D organizations now totalling over 50 scientists, two-thirds of who hold a PhD.” 

“Through our acquisition of A&C we can now offer excipients, buffers, process solutions, critical raw materials and WFI," ​explained Collier.

"To meet the high demand for customization in the biopharma industry, we can now offer GMP services including custom formulation development, GMP manufacturing and GMP down-packing into batch specific packaging.

“Both A&C and Finar offer a rich and highly complementary excipient portfolio that serves both the pharma and biopharma industries with a large number of parenteral grade materials available. 

“In addition, we are building out a portfolio of components use in upstream and downstream processing including amino acids, powder buffers, cell culture media ingredients and low endotoxin ingredients such as sucrose, among others. 

“While Aceto has long prided itself on its regulatory and quality expertise, the acquisitions have provided critical mass to move with greater velocity.”

$25m investment in pharma facilities

Now, the company will invest $25m in three of the newly acquired facilities.

“The most significant is a large-scale cGMP expansion at our first-rate Cascade facility in Eugene, Oregon,"​ said Cottier.  

"This site currently performs development and scale-up of small molecule API’s through Phase II, while the new facility will support customers to Phase III, and potentially commercialization. We will also be doubling R&D capacity at the Oregon facility.  We expect these expansions to be completed by Q3 2022."   

Meanwhile, the company has already expanded production capacity and capability at its ​Islechem Facility in Grand Island, NY. 

"We’ve have completely refurbished 10,000 square feet of laboratory space to enable business growth.  The Grand Island and Eugene R&D organizations work closely together to support fast growing pharmaceutical drug development needs. We expect to be expanding the workforce 40% over the next six months to support expected growth."   

Furthermore, the company has a robust Water for Injection (WFI) operation in A&C Ireland and has begun construction in its A&C Montreal facility to create redundant WFI capacity in North America, which will enable it to roll out its GMP buffer offering to the North American customer base.  This capability is expected to be online later in 2022.

Finally, the company remains on the look-out for further acquisition opportunities, added Cottier.

Hybrid manufacturing/distribution model

The acquisition of the six companies allows Aceto to create what it calls a ‘unique hybrid manufacturing/distribution model’, which it has built up by adding manufacturing operations across key strategic global markets: covering North America, Europe and India.

“We view our hybrid model as one that enables more flexibility and agility to quickly and efficiently address customer needs,”​ said Cottier.

“We saw this as necessary pre-COVID, and it’s even more true today. As capacity has been consolidated into fewer and larger organizations, there have been fewer options for drug manufacturers when demand is high.  

"It was our hypothesis that a different model was needed and could play an important role in reducing those constraints—by expanding our internal capabilities and integrating them with our well-established network of carefully vetted external suppliers.

"COVID has magnified and accelerated some of what we saw coming—we are delighted that we were out in front ahead of these developments and can offer these enhanced solutions to our customers today and into the future.”

Related topics: Upstream Processing