Blackstone selling some or all of Catalent

Posted: May 31, 2012

Frazier Healthcare, a West Coast-based venture capital firm, is said to be buying all or part of Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc., which has a large facility in Northeast Philadelphia and another in Mount Laurel.

Pharmaceutical companies pay Catalent, which is owned by the Blackstone Group, to manufacture and package medicine. Catalent is based in Somerset, N.J.

In 2007, Blackstone spent about $3.3 billion to acquire Pharmaceutical Technologies and Services (PTS), a subsidiary of Cardinal Health, and renamed it Catalent Pharma Solutions. Neither the price nor scope of this latest transaction could be determined Wednesday.

A Frazier Healthcare spokeswoman declined to give details of the purchase but said the company was preparing an announcement.

A Blackstone spokesman said by e-mail, "We have no comment at this stage."

A call and e-mail to a spokesman with Catalent was not returned.

Catalent’s 427,908-square-foot packaging plant on Red Lion Road in Northeast Philadelphia is the largest of the company’s facilities, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Catalent also has a facility at that location for development and clinical services.

With operations on five continents, Catalent has 8,200 employees, with 3,250 in North America. The Philadelphia-area employment numbers could not be determined.

John Lowry, who has a degree from Villanova, was leading Catalent at the time of the sale to Blackstone Group. He is now president and CEO of Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a generic drug maker based in New Brunswick. John Chiminski was named president and chief executive officer of Catalent in March 2009, after more than 20 years with GE Healthcare.

Catalent has struggled to be profitable in recent years.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, the company reported in an SEC filing that it had a net loss of $54 million, though that was an improvement over the $289 million loss that was reported in June 2010.

In the quarter ending March 31 of this year, Catalent reported a loss of $20.8 million and a nine-month loss of $69.7 million, according to its SEC filing.

Contact David Sell at 215-854-4506 or dsell@phillynews.com or Twitter @PhillyPharma. Read his PhillyPharma blog on philly.com.

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