Growth Watch: Aesica expands into Europe

Posted on 16 Dec 2010 by The Manufacturer

Newcastle-based Aesica Pharmaceuticals has signed contracts to acquire three manufacturing sites in Germany and Italy from rival UCB.

photo shows manufacturing facility in Zwickau, Germany

The purchase of the European sites from biopharmaceutical company UCB, in Monheim, Zwickau and Pianezza, are the company’s first acquisitions outside the UK and will almost double the capacity of the business.

Private equity-backed Aesica hopes that the acquisition will act as a model of best practice to shape further expansion into Europe and beyond.

The pharma manufacturer is one of the UK’s fastest growing companies and is going through a period of rapid expansion in the UK, Europe, and North America, where it recently opened offices in San Diego and New York. The three new European sites follows Aesica’s acquisition of R5 Pharmaceuticals in June and will complement the company’s existing formulations capability and expand its clients base.

An important component of the deal is a strategic partnership with UCB, which comprises a long term supply agreement between the two companies, providing a strong platform for Aesica to develop new business streams for the sites. About 600 employees will transfer from UCB to Aesica as part of the acquisition.

“The acquisition of the three UCB manufacturing sites is strategically crucial for our business as we extend our current offering and establish a presence in Europe,” said Dr. Robert Hardy, CEO of Aesica. “We hope to fully utilise the expertise and knowledge across the current team at the new sites to… [help] achieve our vision of becoming the leading supplier of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Formulated Products to the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.”

He added: “In addition to welcoming the staff at the three sites into the Aesica team, we look forward working closely with the wider team at UCB, as both companies see this as the first step in developing a strong strategic partnership. We hope that this first move into Europe provides a platform for future expansion here, in the US and in Asia.”

Aesica supplies contract development and contract manufacturing services for Formulated Products and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients to many global pharmaceutical and emerging biotechnology companies.

The Tyneside company claims to have a competitive advantage in its ability to develop products from the initial clinical stage through to final commercial supply, while also providing primary and secondary contract manufacturing services.
In April Aesica was placed 50th in Deloitte’s Buyout Track 100, a league table published in The Sunday Times of the fastest growing, private equity-backed British companies measured by Ebitda.

In the last five years, the company has more than trebled turnover from £25m to approximately £90m and increased profits by 49% from 2009 to 2010.