The Thaw
Mar27

The Thaw

This week’s announcement that Albany Molecular Research Inc. will acquire Cedarburg Hauser Pharmaceuticals—a $41 million deal—has us on the verge of declaring a trend. You will recall that last October, AAIPharma purchased another Midwest active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) producer, Cambridge Major Laboratories. All we need is one more to feel that the black ice of overcapacity in pharmaceutical fine chemicals is finally starting to melt. [Note: The DSM/Patheon deal does not count as it has not, as of yet, led to any consolidation in API manufacturing stewardship.] Industry watchers have long bemoaned the need—some would call it the obvious-if-not drastic need—for consolidation in the contract pharma chemicals sector. The problem of too few jobs for too many producers is long-standing to the point of seeming sustainable. But action may be triggered now by the nature of those jobs. Customers, transitioning from the block-buster era into the age of targeted therapies, want much smaller volumes of chemicals than they did only a couple of  years ago. And the molecules they want have become increasingly more complex. The stronger contractors, such as AMRI, are on the lookout for ready-to-go advanced API synthesis capacity. Companies like Cambridge Major and Cedarburg are perfect targets, especially for diversified service firms such as AAI and AMRI that want to build out their API offerings. But there are other ways to deal with overcapcity in pharmachem. In Europe, lately, contract fine chemical makers have been investing in non-pharma production, or in other ways shifting emphasis from pharma to markets such as agricultural chemicals, electronic chemicals and catalysts for specialty polymers. Saltigo not long ago combined pharma and non-agricultural fine chemicals into one fine chemicals group, leaving agchem as a separate business. In January, Isochem, the French fine chemical firm, announced plans to build a $2 million plant at its facility in Pont-de-Claix to service an $18 million contract for a high performance polymer catalyst. And last week, Minakem, another French firm, announced plans to expand capacity at its Minafin facility in Tennessee for bio-based 1,2-pentanediol, a key ingredient for cosmetics and an intermediate for agricultural applications and other specialty markets. Isochem, on the other hand, is among the firms that have cash on hand and are looking to acquire API and general pharmaceutical chemical capacity. Others API makers, such as Siegfried, are looking to make further acquisitions downstream in final dosage, fill-and-finish, and other formulation services. Then, there is DSM and Patheon (see previous post at Fine Line). One aspect of that story is that the DSM pharma chem business will no longer be held by a publicly-traded firm. The same is true for Ampac Fine...

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Last Week on CENtral Science: #ACSDallas smorgasbord and more
Mar24

Last Week on CENtral Science: #ACSDallas smorgasbord and more

Sorry for the belated round-up folks. Back to usual this Friday. In the meantime, enjoy this ACS national meeting-heavy roundup of CENtral Science goodness. Tweet of the week, from economist Paula Stephan’s chemistry job placement talk at #ACSDallas: We need a workforce educated in #STEM. That does not equate to a need for more PhDs, unless you give more $ to research. -Stephan #ACSDallas — Carmen Drahl (@carmendrahl) March 18, 2014 To the network: ACS Meeting Updates: Roundup of Wednesday #ACSDallas News and Dallas: A Structural Analysis and Safety professionals: On the outer fringe or the leading edge? (cross post) and Roundup of Tuesday #ACSDallas News and Economist Paula Stephan Talks Chemistry Job Placement at #ACSDallas and Liveblogging First-Time Disclosures of Drug Structures from #ACSDallas and Roundup of Monday #ACSDallas News and Going Green On St. Patrick’s Day Cleantech Chemistry: Help Solve a Water Problem Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots The Chemical Notebook: The U.S. Cracker Leader Board The Safety Zone: Safety professionals: On the outer fringe or the leading edge? (cross post) and Another acid leak at Tesoro refinery The Watch Glass: Cephalopod camouflage and New York St. Patrick’s Day parade’s signature green...

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Roundup of Wednesday #ACSDallas News
Mar20

Roundup of Wednesday #ACSDallas News

Here’s a roundup of news stories from the ACS national meeting in Dallas that C&EN published on Wednesday, 3/19: Teaching Zinc A New Trick Chemists revisit using zinc reagents as a means of transferring fluoroalkyl groups into synthetic building blocks and polymers Taking Cues From Nature En Route To Taxol Synthesis of an intermediate along the way to the cancer drug opens avenues to novel analogs Happy first day of spring and last day of the national...

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Roundup of Tuesday #ACSDallas News
Mar19

Roundup of Tuesday #ACSDallas News

Here’s a roundup of news stories from the ACS national meeting in Dallas that C&EN published on Tuesday, 3/18: Reagent Assembles Ring Motifs Common In Drugs Method builds medium-sized nitrogen heterocycles with challenging substitution patterns Color-Changing Gels Track Food Quality Nano-based materials indicate age, temperature history of perishables Stay tuned for Carmen Drahl’s liveblogging of the new drug structures session TODAY at 2:00 PM...

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This Week on CENtral Science: #ACSDallas, Terra Sig returns, and more!
Mar14

This Week on CENtral Science: #ACSDallas, Terra Sig returns, and more!

Tweet of the week: Hey, wait a second. Both are circular, but 2 pi r squared! http://t.co/WFefcpwOTJ pic.twitter.com/AekJDFYw3u — Slate (@Slate) March 14, 2014 To the network: ACS Meeting Updates (new!): #ACSDallas, Here We Come! Cleantech Chemistry: The Biology in Green Chemistry Fine Line: DCAT Week 2014 Grand CENtral: CENtral Science network update Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots Terra Sigillata: Colorado Marijuana Product Potency: Just Another Herbal Medicine The Chemical Notebook: BASF’s Climate Change Schizophrenia The Safety Zone: #Chemsafety at #ACSDallas The Watch Glass: Calculate pi with frozen hot dogs and Priestley’s birthday and Daylight Savings...

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DCAT Week 2014
Mar14

DCAT Week 2014

Things could not have been more “up” at DCAT Week, the annual occupation of the Waldorf Astoria and environs by the Drug Chemicals and Allied Trades association that wrapped up last night. (Each March, DCAT hosts the largest black tie banquet of the year at the grand old hotel). Business in the pharmaceutical chemicals sector is up for the third year in a row, in fact, making for a kind of “up momentum”. While growth is not a major feature of the current gestalt, a “firmness in the upside” is. The center is expected to hold at least through 2014. No need to recap trends and transformations, which C&EN cataloged in our recent coverage of CPhI and Informex. But many of these were embodied in the strange presence of a “new” company called DPx. Formed in the merger of DSM’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) division and Patheon’s two pharma services and manufacturing businesses last November, DPx is really no stranger to DCAT’s membership. And the deal has been a sector focus for a few months now. The strangeness had to do with its entertaining guests in separate suits after the banquet— the traditionally huge DSM suite and a less-active Patheon suite. The new company name, which was announced early in the week (it stands for DSM/Patheon and whatever you attribute to an x subscript—perhaps just an intersection of two lines)  was absent in signage, though the crowd at the DSM suite was so large that there may have been low-hanging logos that I didn’t notice. Patheon also entertained the press on its own earlier in the week. I met on Wednesday with David Hamby, vice president of business services [note: titles of Patheon and DSM personnel in this post are likely in flux, but it can be assumed that people will continue in their current function in DPx]. He explained that DPx will merge API production with formulation services, final dosage manufacturing, and all the R&D along the chain for a full-services, as opposed to one-stop-shop (I suppose there is a difference between the two approaches), menu for pharma  clients.  The businesses will operate somewhat autonomously, but the focus is on “synergies”, says Hamby. DPx’s plan is to offer pretty much everything, he says,  “hopefully at the right time in the right way, helping our clients with a more integrated offering.” Right time/right way is the crux, of course. But there is also the question of managing two fundamentally different business—services and manufacturing. API producers, such as Siegfried and Hovione, have been trying to find the right balance in expanded offerings, the former very aggressively. And Lonza actually attempted...

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