Morrisville-based Cirrus Pharmaceuticals, a pharmaceutical contract development company, is converting about 700 square feet of lab space at its Morrisville site for flexible clinical-scale drug manufacturing.

Cirrus, founded in 1997, was purchased last July as the U.S. arm of Bangalore, India-based Kemwell Biopharma.

Karan Bagaria, Cirrus vice president of corporate development, said the company’s undertaking the site revision “to get our customers to the clinic faster, especially with first-in-human trials. It’s a new capability to do it all in-house.”

“We already do formulation, so this will add GMP manufacturing to Phase 1 and 2 manufacturing so customers can go directly to the clinic from here.”

Bagaria said Cirrus expects to add three or four employees as a result of the renovation, “so we’ll be around 55 people if we fill all the positions we have open.”

Kemwell’s R&D division employs over 175 scientists worldwide and provides services ranging from formulation development, analytical development and validation to clinical trial manufacturing.

“With this investment, we are bringing our customers a new service from our U.S. facility,” said Ninad Deshpanday, president of R&D at Kemwell. “We will offer our clients cGMP manufacturing services for many dosage forms including inhalation, liquids, topicals and oral solids. We have completed the design phase and expect the suite to be ready to service customers by April 2015.”

With integrated facilities in India, Sweden and the U.S., Kemwell works with sterile and non-sterile products from pre-formulation to commercial supply worldwide. Its workforce of over 1200 employees includes expertise in inhaled, nasal, oral, parenteral and topical dosage forms.

There are some 109 contract research organizations in the 13-county Triangle region alone, employing 12,500 people. North Carolina has the world’s largest core of CROs, with more than 130 statewide employing nearly 22,000 people.

(C) NC Biotech Center