Takeover boost for chemistry firm Onyx Scientific

SUNDERLAND chemistry firm Onyx Scientific has been bought by Indian contract manufacturer Ipca Laboratories in a deal it says will help it to provide a full development service to pharmaceutical companies.

Dr Tony Flinn, CEO of Onyx Scientific

SUNDERLAND chemistry firm Onyx Scientific has been bought by Indian contract manufacturer Ipca Laboratories in a deal it says will help it to provide a full development service to pharmaceutical companies.

The firm has provided early stage development of drugs for more than a decade as a premier chemistry solutions provider, but says its new owner will be able to handle the later stages of drug development including formulation. The deal has been valued at around £4.6m.

Onyx Scientific CEO Tony Flinn said: “We’re hoping it will enhance our activity here.

“The company that has acquired us has a very good reputation and they can make drugs and formulated products. They do the things we don’t do.

“We would previously say goodbye to a project at a certain volume, but now we’re able to pass it on to our parent company in India. We can offer a full range of services between us, and we expect to be doing work for Ipca as well.”

Onyx was founded in 2000 and offers custom synthesis and solid state chemistry to a certain number of kilograms. However, it was forced to reduce its 60-strong workforce by a third when the recession hit the sector between 2009 and 2010.

Flinn said: “We suffered from the downturn like many others, and as we were a small company we were entirely dependent on our own efforts.

“We had to make big cuts to our staff, and reduce our workforce by around 20. Now we’re part of a larger organisation and a company with a bit more cash in the bank. They’d be able to help us if we ever got into that position again, but in many respects we’re on a much more solid footing.”

Onyx Scientific posted turnover of £3.85m in the year to March. Flinn said the company would continue to operate in Sunderland despite being acquired.

He said: “We’ll be in exactly the same place with the same staff working here and hopefully we’ll be able to take on additional scientists.

Basically it’s business as usual.”

Ipca Laboratories is an Indian firm with a strong interest in exports, which account for nearly 55% of its income.

It exports to over 110 companies as a pharmaceutical major providing products such as active pharmaceutical ingredients. Pranay Godha, executive director at Ipca, added: “We are very excited about this venture as we can now offer integrated services across the pharmaceutical life cycle with optimal speed, quality and cost offering.”

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