In The News

Business as usual at Amylin plant during sale

January 28, 2014  |  Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb

Journal News


It’s business as usual at the former Amylin Pharmaceuticals drug manufacturing plant, said the companies involved in a sale that includes the local facility.

The former Amylin plant at 8814 Trade Port Drive in West Chester Twp., which makes diabetes treatments, is changing ownership for the second time in as many years.

So far, there are no signs that the new deal would impact employment levels locally. Nor has the parent company shared any new plans for the site.

“We’re aware of the ownership change, but are not aware that there’s any impact on the local operations,” said Barb Wilson, spokeswoman for West Chester Twp.

There’s reason to believe the plant and operations will stay put, said John Lewis Jr., president and chief executive officer of BioOhio, a trade group for Ohio drug and health companies.

“You cannot just move an FDA-approved” plant, Lewis said. “It’s like starting over from scratch.”

“Once you have the machinery in place and the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has approved the site, that’s a great asset,” he said.

San Diego, Calif.-based Amylin started running the local manufacturing plant in 2009 to make a diabetes drug treatment. The local plant is a sterile production facility manufacturing the global supply of Bydureon, a weekly drug treatment for type 2 diabetes, operators said.

After Amylin received federal approval for the sale of its drug Bydureon in the U.S., it was acquired in 2012 by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. of Princeton, N.J. Since then, Amylin has been operated as a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers.

Most recently on Dec. 19, it was announced that Bristol-Myers plans to sell its diabetes business to AstraZeneca, including the Butler County facility. As part of the agreement, pending approvals, AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment of $2.7 billion to Bristol-Myers and make additional payments based on sales milestones and royalties.

“Once the deal closes, AstraZeneca will have sole ownership of the West Chester facility and the site’s approximately 375 employees will become AstraZeneca employees,” said Frederick Egenolf, spokesman for Bristol-Myers Squibb, in an email.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of March

Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca have collaborated since 2007 to develop drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

“Diabetes is rapidly becoming a global challenge of epidemic proportions that is expected to affect more than 550 million people by 2030 and demand is rising for treatments that better meet the individual needs of these patients,” reads a statement provided by London-based AstraZeneca. “This agreement reinforces AstraZeneca’s long-term commitment to patients with diabetes, a core strategic area and an important platform for returning AstraZeneca to growth.”

Changes in the past 10 years in the pharmaceutical industry has seen costs escalate for research and development, Lewis, of BioOhio, said. Meanwhile, many patented drugs are about to expire, which cuts brand-name pharmaceutical company revenues. The selling price of drugs have been pushed down by lower insurance reimbursement rates and increasing sales of generic drugs, Lewis said.

“A lot of the drug companies now are focusing on fewer drugs per say or (on) a therapeutic focus, but they’re broadening out and delivering more to the doctor, more to the patient around that” such as medical devices and diagnostic services, Lewis said.