Catalent reaches into Australia with latest buyout

Catalent ($CTLT) is buying a drug packaging operation in Australia, extending its global reach with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

The company, Pharmapak Technologies, handles primary and secondary packaging of oral treatments, cranking out blister packs, bottles and a range of related forms, Catalent said. Headquartered in New South Wales, Pharmapak will complement Catalent's existing operation in Victoria, where it produces softgels and other capsules for the whole Asia-Pacific market.

The acquisition is an extension of Catalent's sweeping efforts to increase its profile in the Asian pharma sector, the company said, and the company sees Australia as a gateway into the region.

"Catalent has made substantial recent investments in Asia Pacific with a new facility in China, and last year we celebrated our 40th year in Japan with a new laboratory and the build-out of more manufacturing capacity," Mark Bisset, president of Catalent Asia Pacific, said in a statement. "This latest investment is in response to strong, local market demand for both pharmaceutical, over-the-counter and complementary medicine products."

The buyout comes on the heels of a string of acquisitions for Catalent, including deals for Redwood Bioscience, a longtime partner with a proprietary approach to antibody-drug conjugates, and Micron Technologies, a company that specializes in helping drug developers reduce the size of their therapeutic particles to boost deliverability and bioavailability.

Catalent has been growing steadily since pulling off an $871.3 million IPO last year. Last quarter, the company's net revenue came in at $455.8 million, a 3% increase over the prior year, driven by a 33% jump in medication delivery services and 6% growth in clinical services that compensated for a 3% decline in its oral technology business. Catalent now believes it's on track to bring in about $1.8 billion on the fiscal year.

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