To mark the merger between French company Novasep and German company PharmaZell, made official seven months ago, the new group has decided to unite under the same banner – Axplora. “This reflects our innovation and exploration mindset. We are a partner who is seeking out innovative, agile and reliable solutions for our customers in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Jean Bléhaut, President of the CDMO Business Unit of the new organization, which now has 2,400 employees spread over seven industrial sites in Europe, two sites in India and one in the USA. Current revenues are in the region of €500 million, with a target of €1 billion by 2030.
The merger of German company PharmaZell and Italian company Farmabios dates back to 2011. The group was then bought by shareholder Bridgepoint in 2020, which subsequently bought Novasep in April 2022. The young European active ingredients production giant has now brought together complementary businesses. In the framework of exclusive relations with its clients, the Axplora CDMO Business Unit (ex-Novasep) develops and validates processes for pharmaceutical companies that entrust it with the patent-protected production API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients). In addition to this, the Axplora Specialty Products and Steroids & HPAPI Products Business Units (ex-PharmaZell) produce generic APIs and sell them to pharmaceutical companies.
“This merger means that we can serve our customers throughout the entire life cycle of their active ingredients, from the development phase to the generic phase, which may take decades. It is the engine behind this merger that makes a lot of sense,” Jean Bléhaut, President of the Axplora CDMO Business Unit.
The portfolio of technologies available to Axplora is now complete. In addition to its competences in dangerous chemistry, the new company also produces anti-cancer treatments (ADC, Antibody-Drug Conjugate). It makes use of very powerful purification technology – chromatography. It has the ability to produce Highly-Potent Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (HPAPI), and offers enzymatic chemistry, electrochemical and continuous flow services (more ecological chemistries called green chemistries). “We have a pool of specialized technologies and as a result are highly competitive in a large number of products,” Jean Bléhaut said.
This summer, the group decided to continue to develop and modernize its site at Mourenx (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) by investing €7.3 million in it. A synthetic chemistry pilot unit will be built. This new facility will be capable of accepting new products and providing production solutions for active ingredients in the advanced development phase and the commercial phase. Part of this investment was financed by the France Relance plan.
The new unit will comprise three 1,500 and 2,000-liter chemical reactors, and a finished product isolation unit, guaranteeing high levels of containment, which can be used to treat highly active ingredients. There is a reactor and filter drier made from Hastelloy, a highly resistant material that can be used to treat a wide range of synthetic molecules.