Raybow Pharmaceutical Acquires Brevard-Based PharmAgra Labs

Raybow PharmaceuticalsPharmAgra Labs, a custom chemical research and development company in Brevard, has been bought by Chinese contract manufacturer Raybow Pharmaceutical. The companies did not disclose financial details.

Raybow is a global provider of outsourced pharmaceutical development and manufacturing services, from preclinical through commercial, for biotechnology and big pharma clients. The company was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Taizhou, China. It employs 1,400 people worldwide.

The acquisition will expand Raybow’s global footprint and provide closer proximity to its growing U.S. customer base, the company said.

PharmAgra’s Brevard facility will become the headquarters and R&D center for Raybow’s North American operations. It will be supported by sales and marketing offices in Los Angeles, CA, Princeton, NJ and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Raybow says it plans to immediately expand the Brevard PharmAgra site and increase the number of employees there. The facility is currently staffed by a team of about 30, half of them with Ph.Ds. The total number of employees will likely triple over the next several years, according to Raybow.

PharmAgra Labs (former - Now Raybow Pharmaceutical) front entrance
PharmAgra Labs, now Raybow Pharmacuetical, front entrance

PharmAgra provides contract R&D services around organic and medicinal chemistry that include API manufacturing, custom synthesis, process development and analytical support. “We build molecules for our clients to fulfill their needs, whatever industry that may be,” said Peter Newsome, who co-founded the company with Roger Frisbee in 1998. “Our future with Raybow fits perfectly with our long-term goal of providing chemistry capabilities for our clients in all industries.” Newsome and Frisbee will remain as co-presidents of Raybow USA.

“Raybow’s European and U.S. clients will appreciate the option for contract services within the U.S.,” said the company’s CEO Bin Wang. “The PharmAgra team has a proven track record established during their 20 years of custom synthesis services. ... This is an excellent fit for both companies.”

Jonathan Snover, Ph.D., executive director of the western office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, said the acquisition is a positive for employment and the economy in his part of the state. “Raybow’s decision reflects the technical value PharmAgra has created for its customers and I congratulate them for building such a company in Brevard. The company's planned expansion could eventually mean about 60 new scientific jobs for the Brevard area, many of them requiring personnel with a graduate degree,” Snover added. “We look forward to a strong relationship with the combined company.”

In 2012, NCBiotech awarded a two-year Industrial Fellowship  – totaling close to $100,000 – to PharmAgra to support the company’s efforts to commercialize the dermal and cosmetic applications for one of its proprietary compounds.

Bryant Haskins, NCBiotech Writer
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