DURHAM – Cambrex Corp., a contract manufacturer of small-molecule therapeutics with a growing facility in High Point, has signed an agreement to acquire Avista Pharma Solutions, a contract development, manufacturing and testing organization (CDMO) in East Rutherford, N.J., for about $252 million.

Cambrex, also headquartered in East Rutherford, said the acquisition will give it greater early stage development capabilities for both advanced pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and finished dosage forms, as well as comprehensive analytical testing services.

“This acquisition opens up an exciting new segment of the market for Cambrex and brings a large number of new customer relationships to Cambrex,” said president and CEO Steve Klosk.  “These new relationships will provide cross-selling opportunities for Cambrex’s API and finished dosage form services, and will significantly increase the funnel of molecules that may advance to commercial status, where Cambrex has always excelled.”

Avista, a portfolio company of Ampersand Capital Partners, a healthcare-focused private equity firm, offers a broad suite of services ranging from API and drug product development and contract manufacturing to stand-alone analytical, microbiology testing and solid state sciences.


“This transaction affirms the reputation that our dedicated employee base has established as a trusted early stage CDMO with a track record of world class customer service, technical expertise and strong growth,” said Pat Walsh, chief executive officer of Avista Pharma. “We are very excited to be joining the Cambrex team and believe the growth synergies as a result of this combination will be significant.”

Avista’s 330-person workforce will join Cambrex’s 1,700 employees across the United States and Europe when the all-cash deal is closed by the end of the year.

Avista operates a facility in Durham and three others in Colorado, Massachusetts and Scotland comprising over 200,000 square feet of space.  The company has worked on more than 200 small molecules for about 180 customers so far in 2018, providing some combination of analytical testing, early stage process chemistry, formulation development, manufacturing, or solid state chemistry services.

Including its microbiological testing business, Avista has over 400 active customers and is expected to generate about $65 million in annual revenue in 2018.

The acquisition comes a few months after Cambrex announced a $30 million expansion of its High Point facility that will add 78 new employees over the next three years, bringing its total head count there to about 150. That’s nearly triple the number it had in October 2016 when it established its business there by acquiring PharmaCore, a privately held clinical contract manufacturer, for $25 million.

The High Point facility produces complex APIs and intermediates requiring multi-step synthetic processes in batch sizes from milligrams to 100 kg in support of clinical trials from Phase I through to Phase III. The site is licensed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to manufacture Schedule II to Schedule V controlled substances.

Cambrex is a global company that offers APIs, finished dose forms, advanced intermediates and enhanced drug delivery products for branded and generic pharmaceuticals. Its development and manufacturing capabilities include enzymatic biotransformations, high-potency APIs, high-energy chemical synthesis, controlled substances and continuous processing.

Earlier this year Cambrex completed the purchase of Halo Pharma, a dosage-form contract manufacturer with production facilities in Whippany, N.J., and Montreal, for about $425 million. Halo specialized in oral solids, liquids, creams, and sterile and non-sterile ointments.

Cambrex is publicly held with shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CBM.