Capsugel bets $20M on Bend's commercial manufacturing

Deal-happy CMO Capsugel hasn't forgotten about its latest acquiree, planning to invest $20 million in Bend Research's spray-dried dispersion technology just a month after closing the buyout deal.

The money will cover an expansion of Bend's Oregon headquarters and pay for new high-capacity spray driers, which break down poorly soluble drugs and disperse them throughout a polymer matrix, easing deliverability. The investment is part of an over-arching effort to improve Bend's late-stage development and commercial production capabilities, Capsugel CEO Guido Driesen said, and the company figures its expansion will come online in 2015.

"This major investment, after our acquisition of Bend Research, confirms our commitment to continue to expand the capabilities across our entire (Dosage Form Solutions) organization," Driesen said in a statement. "Our goal is to provide clients with innovative dosage form solutions by bringing together industry-leading R&D expertise and world-class manufacturing capabilities."

Over the past year, Capsugel has used its wallet to get a bigger stake in the contract manufacturing world, first buying Scotland's Encap Drug Delivery to add liquid and semi-solid encapsulations to its offerings, and then picking up Bend this fall, bringing in technologies for modified release, inhalation delivery and biotherapeutic processing.

KKR, Capsugel's private equity owner, has been glad to greenlight its acquisitions since buying it from Pfizer ($PFE) for $2.4 billion in 2011. And KKR has been bullish about healthcare dealmaking in its own right, this year spending more than $1.3 billion to buy up CROs PRA and ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services and spending about $1.7 billion on a majority stake of Panasonic's medical arm.

- read the announcement