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Onyx Scientific bought by India's Ipca Labs

Published on 16/08/11 at 10:48am

India's Ipca Laboratories has bought UK chemistry services firm Onyx Scientific for around £4.6 million ($7.5m).

The Mumbai-based company, a contract manufacturer that produces finished dosage forms and active pharmaceutical ingredients, said Onyx Scientific will continue to operate out of its facility in Sunderland, which offers custom synthesis, solid-state chemistry, scale-up and kilo-scale GMP manufacturing.

Ipca, which provides contract manufacturing services through its Covenance business division, said the acquisition would allow it to offer "integrated services across the pharmaceutical life cycle".

Onyx Scientific said its capabilities in chemistry services for medicinal, preclinical and phase I/II programmes will complement the Indian company's business in supporting phase II to commercial-scale programmes.

"Early development projects can be delivered from Onyx Scientific's UK site with speed and flexibility while optimisation, scale-up and competitive manufacturing for late phase projects can be carried out from Ipca's locations in India," said Dr Tony Flinn, the UK firm's chief executive.

Ipca has operations in more than 110 countries, but Onyx represents its first acquisition outside India. The UK firm was forced to cut back on workforce numbers in 2009 and 2010 when the downturn in the pharmaceutical outsourcing sector first started to be felt, but latterly has experienced a bounceback, with turnover up 27% to £3.7 million in the year ending 31 March.

The company recently said it was on track to restore sales to pre-recession levels. In 2008 it recorded a turnover of £4.5 million.

Meanwhile, Ipca reported revenues of 18.9 billion rupees (around $415 million) in fiscal year 2010-2011, a rise of more than 20% year-on-year. Exports account for nearly 55% of revenue, according to the firm.

Phil Taylor

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