Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has agreed to sell its small-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facility in Swords, Ireland, to Seoul, South Korea-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) SK Biotek, a subsidiary of SK Holdings. SK Biotek will continue to manufacture the site’s current portfolio, which includes BMS’ and Pfizer’s Eliquis™ (apaxiban). The boards of both firms have approved the deal, which they hope to complete by Q4 2017, subject to customary closing conditions. 

BMS and SK Biotek already have a decade-long relationship, with the latter acting as a supplier to BMS and producing API starting materials and intermediates. SK Biotech said it plans to operate the Swords facility as a standalone CDMO, which it will upgrade to expand capacity, and to invest in marketing and R&D capabilities.

“This transaction is an important step to achieve our goal of becoming a leading global CDMO,” commented Junku Park, Ph.D., CEO at SK Biotek. “It allows us to enhance technological and manufacturing capacity and build long-term partnerships with existing and new customers.”

Lou Schmukler, president, global product development & supply at BMS, said the firm is continuing to invest in Ireland by expanding its Cruiserath biologics facility, and through its commercial and business presence in Ireland.  “We value our partnership with SK Biotek and believe today’s agreement will continue the vital role the Swords facility plays for its employees, the community, and patients,” Schmukler stated. “Today’s agreement is an important step in the ongoing evolution of our manufacturing network to support the company’s innovative portfolio.

BMS announced its projected $900 million investment into building the large-scale biologics facility at Cruiserath back in 2014. Last year the firm completed a $280 million expansion to its Devens, MA biologics facility.

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