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CordenPharma changes hands

Private equity firm Atorg has agreed to acquire CDMO CordenPharma from International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG), subject to customary regulatory approvals. The founders, Patrick Schnitzer and Dr Achim Riemann, will also reinvest in the firm and CEO Michael Quirmbach remains in place.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. However, when the possibility of a sale was first reported in German business newspaper Handelsblatt in January, a valuation of around €3 billion was cited. ICIG, the paper claimed, had delayed a sale until it had completed a major series of investments. These included:

* The drug products business of Vifor, with two sites in Switzerland and one in Portugal

* A €9.7 million expansion in development capabilities for the development and manufacture of highly potent oral solid drug products at Plankstadt, Germany, plus high potency filling equipment, hot melt extrusion and the ability to operate with organic solvents

* Non-GMP peptide capacity at Fechenheim, Germany, enabling the firm to manufacture at hundreds of grams scale for tox studies and other non-clinical work, with a large expansion in GMP peptides also planned

* Increased peptide purification capabilities at the site Colorado, adding a one-metre column

* An R&D facility and a clinical-scale manufacturing facility for lipid nanoparticle formulation development at Caponago, near Milan

* Supercritical fluid chromatography capabilities at its Wiestal, Germany, and Chenôve, France, plus a flow chemistry centre of excellence and pilot flow facility at Chenôve

ICIG, which has owned CordenPharma since 2006, said that, following a strategic review of its portfolio, it had concluded that “CordenPharma in its next growth phase would be best developed further with a partner”, while it will focus more on its chemicals portfolio. This is represented by WeylChem, which groups non-GMP operations.

CordenPharma employs more than 2,600 people in 11 manufacturing facilities and one R&D laboratory in Europe and the US. It has five technology platforms all for pharmaceuticals: peptides, lipids and carbohydrates, highly potent and oncology, injectables and small molecules. 

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