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NEWS OF THE WEEK
LATECOMER?
September 10, 2001
Volume 79, Number 37
CENEAR 79 37 p. 14
ISSN 0009-2347
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BASF To Step Up Contract Manufacturing

MICHAEL MCCOY

Having decided, apparently, that late is better than never, BASF intends to become "one of the leading competitors" in the contract manufacture of active ingredients and advanced intermediates for the pharmaceutical industry.

7937basfBASF is already a big supplier to drug makers, selling them some $500 million a year worth of excipients and active ingredients such as ibuprofen and caffeine. However, the company doesn't do much exclusive synthesis; annual sales in this field are less than $20 million, it acknowledges.

Gabriel Tanbourgi, a BASF group vice president, contends that the firm's dual expertise in organic chemistry process development and biotechnology forms a good base for building deeper drug industry partnerships.

Peter Pollak, a Switzerland-based fine chemicals consultant, agrees that BASF is known for quality products, but he says its "family tree" approach to manufacturing is at odds with the ever-changing needs of drug companies. Plus, Pollak notes that it's not a great time to be entering the once-lucrative field. "They are late in the game, and there are already too many players," he says.

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