Ardena acquires ChemConnection adding API expertise

Contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) Ardena has acquired ChemConnection, a leading contract manufacturer of novel active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and nanomedicines.

Originating from Organon and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in 2012, Netherlands-based ChemConnection has rapidly evolved to become a well-respected contract services provider serving biotechs and mid-sized pharmaceutical companies on a global scale.

This announcement follows a series of acquisitions by Belgium-headquartered Ardena and is part of its strategy to form a leading integrated drug development company and reach the €30m sales mark this year.

Harry Christiaens, CEO of Ardena, comments: “This acquisition is a major step in the execution of our wider strategy to become one of Europe’s leading one-source-contractors for the development of clinical supplies.”

“Until today, Ardena was primarily focused on pharmaceutical development and manufacturing of drug products. With the acquisition of ChemConnection we strengthen our offering with complementary drug substance services. Moreover, the team in Oss is globally reputed for its nanomedicine expertise enabling the targeted delivery of complex small molecules and biomolecules.”

Based at the Pivot Park life sciences campus in Oss, the Netherlands, ChemConnection employs a team of more than 60 with expertise in process and analytical development, cGMP manufacturing and stability studies for APIs and nanomedicines. Its state of the art facility has the capability to manufacture APIs up to 30 kg scale.

Commenting on the acquisition, Gerjan Kemperman, CEO of ChemConnection added: “Joining Ardena enables us to serve our customers with much broader services covering their API, drug product, regulatory CMC and bioanalysis requirements. In addition, together we can benefit from synergies that will boost the growth of our business.”

Ardena was formed in 2017, following the merging of three companies with complementary capabilities: Pharmavize in Belgium, and Crystallics and Analytical Biochemical Laboratory (ABL) in the Netherlands. With the acquisition of ChemConnection, Ardena now employs a total of 200 scientists at its Belgian headquarters in Ghent and across three sites in the Netherlands (Oss, Amsterdam and Assen).

“Supported by financial investor Mentha Capital, we aim to continue the group’s strong organic growth trajectory and we will look for further acquisitions to create an internationally recognised drug development company. We want to create an integrated group of companies that is able to help our customers to navigate the challenges of drug development and meet all chemical, pharmaceutical and (bio)analytical needs in the clinical supply chain, from lab to patient”, adds Harry.



Ardena is expanding its Belgian site

The Ardena Group, headquartered in Belgium, is currently expanding its Ghent site with an extra floor space of about 900 m2. The new infrastructure will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018.

“The Belgian site has increased sales by an average of more than 15 percent per year in the last 12 years”, says Harry Christiaens, CEO of Ardena Group. “We’re running at full capacity. To anticipate any future growth, we decided two years ago to invest in the expansion of our infrastructure.  We are now close to completion.”

The larger facility – 2.500 m2 in total – will provide additional lab and office space. It will also harbor a training & community center.  “We are currently launching Ardena Academy”, adds Elke D’Hoker, HR Manager. “Our academy will facilitate the onboarding of new employees and provide in the permanent training of technical and soft skills of the entire workforce.”


ABL acquisition extends early-phase offering

Early-phase contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO), Ardena, has acquired bioanalytical contract laboratory, Analytical Biochemical Laboratory (ABL).

The acquisition of Netherlands-based ABL follows the merging of Pharmavize and Crystallics to form Ardena and broadens the CDMO’s pre-clinical and clinical offering to include bioanalytical and drug discovery services.

With the addition of ABL, the Ardena Group now employs 125 scientists.

Commenting on the announcement, Harry Christiaens CEO of Ardena, said: “Our focus is to help customers navigate the hurdles of drug development and in order to do this effectively, we need to deliver a broad and integrated service offering spanning drug discovery, pre-clinical, CMC and clinical services.

“With ABL’s expertise, we can now support sponsors with bioanalytical and drug discovery services to help them reach important pre-clinical and clinical milestones. These specialist capabilities complement our existing services, which include solid-state chemistry, analytical and formulation development, and early-phase clinical supply manufacturing.”

“This is a very exciting time for everyone at Ardena as we combine our specialist capabilities and knowledge, enabling us to develop smart, and regulatory-compliant formulations for drug development companies of all sizes,” added Harry.

The acquisition of ABL means Ardena now has three facilities in Europe, including Amsterdam (the former Crystallics facility) and Assen (the former ABL facility) in the Netherlands, as well as the company’s headquarters in Ghent, Belgium.

Harry continued: “The acquisition of ABL was a strategic decision to further our goal to become a one-source contract partner for early-phase development. We expect to continue this ‘buy & build’ strategy in the coming months and years.”

Founded in 1969, ABL specialises in the analysis of endogenous (biomarkers) and exogenous compounds (drugs) in biological matrices derived from humans and animals. The company is active in all phases of drug development, including discovery, pre-clinical and clinical phases I – IV.

Ardena will be exhibiting for the first time at CPhI Worldwide in Frankfurt, 24 – 26th October 2017. Visit stand 40B12 to find out more.

Ardena launches following Pharmavize and Crystallics merger

A new early-phase contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO), Ardena, has launched following the merging of Pharmavize and Crystallics.

The two companies came together in 2016 with backing from investor Mentha Capital. The new brand name, Ardena, reveals the increased service offering and complementary capabilities of Pharmavize in Belgium and Crystallics in the Netherlands.

The new company will deliver integrated services that include a.o. solid-state chemistry, analytical and formulation development, and early-phase clinical supply manufacturing.

With a team of 85 employees, the new Belgium-headquartered company is supporting customers across the globe in reaching important milestones.

Commenting on the announcement, Harry Christiaens CEO of Ardena, said: “We made the decision to combine the specialist capabilities of both Pharmavize and Crystallics last year so that we would be better placed to help our customers navigate the hurdles and pitfalls of early phase drug development.

“The launch of Ardena as a new brand is the next step in this journey and solidifies our collaboration; we are now one company, operating under one name. Looking to the future, we plan to continue this ‘buy and build’ strategy to further strengthen our service offering to customers. New acquisitions will follow soon.”

With facilities in Ghent, Belgium and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Ardena has particular expertise in bioavailability enhancement and modified drug release and takes a dossier-centric approach to drug development.

Harry continued: “Drug developers need clinical materials on time in order to generate valuable clinical data and reach their next milestone, yet many face formulation challenges or lack the in-house infrastructure or regulatory knowledge required. Quite simply, our focus is to create strong formulations and regulatory-compliant drug products for clients planning early phase clinical trials.

“With product and dossier developed together, quality and regulatory compliance can be ensured from the start of a project. With drug developers under increasing time and cost pressures, this helps to streamline the drug’s progress to clinic and eventually to commercial production.”

Ardena will be exhibiting for the first time at CPhI Worldwide in Frankfurt, 24 – 26 October 2-17. Visit stand 40B12 to find out more.