India continues to be a country where investment in contract research is hot. A deal announced Monday is a big one.
Greenwich, Conn.-based Aptuit, and Hyderabad, India-based Laurus Labs formed a joint venture for a new contract drug development company called Aptuit Laurus.
The new venture will combine Aptuit’s global offerings in drug development with Laurus’ research and development and manufacturing expertise, and newly built facilities. The combined company will provide pharmaceutical companies with integrated services, technologies and manufacturing capabilities that span the entire drug development continuum.
The new entity, Aptuit Laurus Private Limited, will use the trade name Aptuit Laurus, and will be based in Hyderabad with additional facilities in Vishakhapatnam and Bangalore.
Aptuit Laurus will initially provide services to clients in early-stage drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, lead optimization, process development, scale-up and process optimization, safety and hazard assessment, formulation development and analytical chemistry. Aptuit Laurus will comprise Laurus’ newly-established 160,000 square foot research and development facility in Hyderabad, which already employs 200 scientific personnel. It will also include Laurus’ large-scale manufacturing plant, which is currently under construction on 34 acres of land in Pharma City, Vishakhapatnam and Aptuit’s existing informatics development and support group of 100 employees in Bangalore.
Aptuit has committed to invest $100 million in the next four years to build upon Aptuit Laurus’ development, manufacturing and informatics capabilities with the addition of a complete suite of development services including: medicinal chemistry, preclinical, solid-state chemistry, consulting, clinical packaging and logistics, phase I/IIa research and large-scale dosage form manufacturing.
When these investments are completed, Aptuit Laurus will mirror the full suite of services offered by Aptuit in North America and Europe. In addition, the new company will further extend those development services to offer expanded services in discovery and clinical research and access to larger-scale manufacturing at the back-end of the product development lifecycle. Aptuit, founded in late 2004, has been in growth mode following a number of acquisitions and now has more than 2,000 employees.
“Laurus Labs shares our strategic vision to build an end-to-end drug development services partner with high service levels and an emphasis on technology, and their offerings align neatly with ours,” said Michael A. Griffith, founder and chief executive officer of Aptuit.
In late 2005, Dr. Satyanarayana Chava founded Laurus Labs along with two colleagues. Dr. Satyanarayana was most recently chief operating officer of Matrix Laboratories Limited. At Matrix, he played a key role in transforming that company into one of the major pharmaceutical companies in India. “Aptuit is the ideal strategic partner for Laurus,” he said. “Our strengths are complementary, and we are very focused on the value and efficiencies to be gained for our customers in having access to a full range of research, development and manufacturing capabilities and services on a truly global scale. We see this as a very powerful combination, one that benefits our customers quite uniquely.”
Dr. Satyanarayana, who was named to Aptuit’s board, and his co-founders will remain with Aptuit Laurus and have invested in the company.