Vivimed’s bulk-drugs unit to buy Hungarian contract manufacturing firm

Pharmaceuticals firm Vivimed Labs Ltd has announced that its bulk drug business UQUIFA will acquire Hungary-headquartered SONEAS, a contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO), for an undisclosed amount.

CDMOs typically work with other companies in the pharmaceutical industry on a contract basis to provide comprehensive services from drug development to manufacturing.

SONEAS, which was established in 1996, is being acquired from Hungary-based firms Lochlomond and Euroventures.

Vivimed said in a stock exchange disclosure that the acquisition would speed up its expansion into contract development and manufacturing, where it already has a presence in the US, Europe and Japan.

The CDMO sector constitutes 40% of UQUIFA's sales.

Vivemed said the transaction will enable UQIFA to undertake preclinical, phase I, II and III new chemical entity) project development.

"To build on the cost-effective development capabilities with aggressive timelines and to deliver effective results for the combined customer base will be a key objective," said Saurabh Gurnurkar, executive director at UQUIFA.

The Budapest-based SONEAS is focused on research & development and contract manufacturing targeted at the innovator pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals sectors. The company reported revenues of 12.2 million euros in 2017, it said.

The acquisition comes just months after OrbiMed, a healthcare-focussed investment firm, invested $50 million in UQUIFA in two tranches. Initially, in September last year, OrbiMed had invested $42.5 million (Rs 276.7 crore) and it had pumped in another $7.5 million (Rs 47.7 crore) in January.

UQUIFA, which was acquired by Vivimed Labs for $55 million in 2011, has three US Food and Drug Administration-inspected manufacturing sites across Spain and Mexico.

Evolvence India Life Sciences Fund, the first healthcare fund managed by InvAscent, had backed the acquisition of UQUIFA by investing in a Vivimed unit based in Mauritius in 2011.

Vivimed said last year that UQUIFA contributed around 60% to the company’s consolidated revenue and a higher proportion of operating profit,

Drug makers such as Gilead Lifesciences, GSK, Mylan, Esteve Quimica, Apotex, Medinsa, and Actavis are some of UQUIFA's key customers.

The pharmaceuticals industry in India has seen several overseas and domestic strategic deals in recent years.

Data from VCCEdge, the research arm of News Corp VCCircle, shows that 2017 saw over 15 domestic pharmaceutical deals totalling about $798 million and involving Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Piramal Enterprises, and Strides Shasun Ltd, among others.

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