- Thermo Fisher Scientific agreed to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s drug substance manufacturing site in Cork, Ireland, for about 90 million euros, or $101 million, in cash.
- The deal lets GSK become a major customer for the site with a multi-year supply deal, while allowing Thermo Fisher to expand contract development and manufacturing services for other clients, according to a release.
- More than 400 people work at the facility, which makes complex active pharmaceutical ingredients for treatments for conditions such as depression and Parkinson’s disease.
The GSK deal is part of a larger expansion for Thermo Fisher, which had $24 billion in revenue last year.
In March, the company announced plans to buy Brammer Bio, a contract manufacturer of viral vectors, for $1.7 billion. In 2017, the company paid more than $7 billion to buy the contract development and manufacturing organization Patheon.
And there may be more to come.
"The company obviously has a lot of M&A capacity, so that’s not going to be the constraint," Michael Lagarde, Thermo Fisher’s president of pharma services, said in a March interview with BioPharma Dive. "If we find good opportunities, we’ll go pursue them, but they will need to fit our strategic lens."
Thermo Fisher is also pouring $150 million into its sterile fill-finish sites in Italy and North Carolina to boost development and manufacturing capacity. In addition, the company plans to finish a $50 million expansion of a Missouri biologics facility this year.
The GSK Cork site includes 270 cubic meters of reactor capacity, 10 production buildings and an R&D pilot plant, Thermo Fisher said. For the British drugmaker, it had become a "significantly underutilized" asset, GSK Cork Site Director Mike O’Sullivan said in GSK’s release.
"It became clear that the site was no longer a competitive fit within GSK’s manufacturing network," O’Sullivan said. "We believe the sale will leave the site well positioned for future growth and development."
GSK is in the midst of a multi-year makeover, restructuring its manufacturing networks and narrowing its drug development focus. In 2017, the company announced plans to terminate, partner or divest 13 clinical programs and 20 preclinical projects.
Among other moves, the company has closed its Bangladesh manufacturing plant, cutting more than 1,000 jobs. It’s also closed an over-the-counter drug manufacturing plant in Sligo, Ireland, and slimmed down operations in Philadelphia and North Carolina.
GSK and Thermo Fisher said they expect the transaction, which needs regulatory approvals, will be completed by the end of this year.