​Citing the Research Triangle region’s prevalence of top talent and nationally ranked research universities, a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company with roots in India has chosen Durham as the site for a new R&D and manufacturing operation.

Lifestar Pharma of Mahwah, N.J., bought a newly built 96,000-square-foot shell building on 17 acres at the Triangle Business Center industrial park at 4018 Stirrup Creek Drive in Durham, just outside Research Triangle Park. The purchase price was $7.784 million, according to a deed filed July 31 in Durham County.

“We are very excited to announce this new venture, to expand our footprint in the U.S.A. with a R&D and manufacturing set-up in one of North America’s largest science and technology hubs,” Lifestar CEO Vijay Soni, Ph.D., said in a news release.

Lifestar is a subsidiary of Mankind Pharma of New Delhi, a fully integrated company that is one of India’s five largest pharmaceutical companies.

Mankind has 13,000 employees and operations in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, South-East Asia and the Persian Gulf, according to its website. It markets more than 1,000 products and has another 200-plus products under development.

No details yet on plans for Durham site

Lifestar’s newly established operations in New Jersey are the company’s first toehold in the U.S. market. Specific plans for the Durham facility are unclear. The company referred media questions to Soni, who was not available for immediate comment.

The company’s website says Lifestar is “a pharmaceutical supply chain partner that focuses on developing and marketing affordable, high-quality, multi-source specialty pharmaceuticals for the U.S. market.”

Lifestar, established in India in 2005 with a focus on generic drugs, is described on Mankind’s website as “a low-cost warrior” that “carved a niche for itself by entering rural markets and slashing drug prices, making it one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies within a decade.”

Going forward, Lifestar “is building a strategic pharmaceutical portfolio of high-quality and difficult-to-make products with various dosage forms and capabilities,” according to its website. “This portfolio will be supported through organic, co-development and in-licensing activities.”

Company makes a wide range of products

The website also says Lifestar is involved with solid and liquid doses of oral medicines, ophthalmic solutions, topical and dermatological drugs, controlled substances and both sterile and non-sterile injectables. The company’s products include prescription medicines ranging across therapeutic areas such as dermatology, gynecology, ophthalmology, antibiotics, respiratory, anti-malarial and gastrointestinal.

Lifestar bought the Durham property from Scannell Properties, a privately owned real estate development and investment company that focuses on build-to-suit and speculative development projects throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Lifestar was represented in the purchase by Deborah Boucher and Kathryn Lawn of the Raleigh-Durham office of Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm.

Boucher said the property “presented an excellent opportunity to enhance Lifestar Pharma’s presence in the Triangle, which is consistently recognized as a top-10 location for business.”

Lawn said, “I am pleased that we could identify and procure such an advantageous solution for Lifestar Pharma’s needs, particularly given the competitive business climate in the Raleigh-Durham market.”

(C) N.C. Biotech Center