Sagent Pharmaceuticals Establishes Foothold in Raleigh With Purchase of Xellia Manufacturing Facility
A north Raleigh drug-manufacturing site purchased in 2014 by Denmark-based Xellia Pharmaceuticals has been sold again.
Sagent Pharmaceuticals, located in Schaumburg, Illinois, announced the acquisition of the FDA-approved facility March 1. Xellia said the transaction does not involve the transfer of any of its product or intellectual property rights. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the agreement.
Sargent -- a specialty pharmaceutical products manufacturer -- is owned by the Nichi-Iko Group Company in Tokyo. It focuses on producing, sourcing and marketing injectable medicines for the North American market. Nichi-Iko is one of the largest generic drug manufacturers in Japan.
The 100-acre site adjacent to Capital Boulevard currently houses a 10,000-square-foot laboratory and a separate 70,000-sqare-foot production building. The operation is approved to manufacture both small molecule (chemical-based) and biologic medicines and employs about 120 workers. Sagent said the site can be used to produce lyophilized, or freeze-dried, formulations of biosimilar products in the future.
Jerry Webb, Sagent’s chief operating officer, was quoted in Triangle Business Journal saying employees will remain on Xellia’s payroll for a short period before they transition to Sagent. The company plans to continue manufacturing certain products for Xellia, he added. The production of other drugs will transfer to Xellia’s two main sterile injectable sites in Cleveland, Ohio and Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Everyone currently employed will get an offer from Sagent to remain,” Webb said in the TBJ article. “Frankly, we expect to hire a few more along the way.” He said the company could add a packaging operation within the next couple of years that would mean double-digit increases to the present headcount.
Webb said the company’s interest in acquiring a site in Raleigh stems, in large part, from its desire to tap into the Triangle workforce and to lay the groundwork for possible future expansion.
“Raleigh’s reputation -- and the Research Triangle -- is something that is well known within the industry,” he said. “We feel like there’s a great talent base here and this could position our company to do many things here in the future. This is a good environment for talent and experience.”
The Raleigh factory is the first FDA-approved facility in the Nichi-Iko Group network. Sagent intends to continue manufacturing certain products for Xellia, while utilizing the site's capabilities to enhance its ability to address unmet market needs.
"The acquisition of this facility is a significant milestone in our journey to transform Sagent," said Dr. Peter Kaemmerer, Chief Executive Officer of Sagent. "In addition to complementing our historic partner-based supply model with internal manufacturing capabilities, the Raleigh site will enable production of lyophilized formulations of our future biosimilar product offerings. We look forward to welcoming the site employees into the Sagent team and contributing to the Nichi-Iko family together."
Yuichi Tamura, President and CEO of Nichi-Iko said, "We applaud this acquisition as another big step forward for Nichi-Iko and Sagent, further strengthening our competitiveness and capabilities in the key U.S. market. The acquisition of this manufacturing facility, our first in the U.S., will have an important role as we strive to fulfil our mission of providing value-added, high quality generic products which meet the needs of patients and their families in the global market."
Xellia purchased the original manufacturing facility from Fresenius Kabi. It expanded the site a year later, in 2015, when it relocated its North American headquarters to Raleigh from Grayslake, Illinois. The company’s headquarters is now in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, near Chicago.