Novo Holdings firm makes USD 135m divestment

Xellia Pharmaceuticals is selling its US factory, 19 products and a research center in Croatia.
Antibiotics company Xellia is divesting its facility in Cleveland, eight approved and marketed injection products, 11 pipeline products and a research and development center in Croatia. | Photo: Xellia Pharmaceuticals / Pr
Antibiotics company Xellia is divesting its facility in Cleveland, eight approved and marketed injection products, 11 pipeline products and a research and development center in Croatia. | Photo: Xellia Pharmaceuticals / Pr

Xellia Pharmaceuticals, which Novo Holdings bought for DKK 4bn (USD 575m) in 2013 from the British private equity fund 3i, is divesting its US facility in Cleveland, eight approved and marketed injectable products, 11 pipeline products and a research and development center in Croatia.

The buyer is the British pharmaceutical company Hikma Pharmaceuticals, which is paying USD 135m here and now, while another USD 50m may follow if a number of milestones are achieved, Hikma writes in a press release.

The eight approved and marketed injection products Xellia now sells currently have an annual turnover of USD 75m, and Xellia’s research and development center in Croatia’s capital Zagreb comes with ”a large team of professionals,” Hikma writes.

The divestment comes not long after Xellia announced in December that the company was finally ready to start commercial production and distribution at its new factory in Cleveland, Ohio, after a long, tough and not least costly process.

”It’s the culmination of eight years of hard work by the team to establish our state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities over there,” the then relatively new CEO of Xellia Pharmaceuticals, Michael Kocher, told MedWatch.

He took over in June last year from Carl-Åke Carlsson, who was fired after 15 years in the position.

In a press release, Xellia writes that the divestment follows a strategic decision initiated almost nine months ago.

”The sale of our US institutional business to Hikma is a defining milestone in this transformational journey,” says Kocher.

”By focusing on our core competencies, we are positioning Xellia for a robust and prosperous future, enabling us to continue to deliver life-saving products to patients around the world,” he continues.

Xellia and its 1800+ employees produce APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients), and the company also has a number of FDF (Finished Dosage Form) products in its portfolio, including in the category of hospital injectables and as premix bags used in the fight against infections with multi-resistant bacteria.

In addition to the factory in Cleveland and the research organization in Zagreb being divested, Xellia has a large production facility in Denmark which has been expanded several times, and a similar capacity in Hungary, as well as a controlling stake in a joint venture in China.

The Xellia Pharmaceuticals Group ended 2022 with revenue of just over DKK 2.25bn (USD 323m). However, the bottom line result was a loss of DKK 439.7m (USD 63m), largely due to the establishment of the factory in Cleveland.

Over the past three years, Xellia Pharmaceuticals has had a total loss of DKK 990m (USD 142m), but with the factory in the US up and running, Xellia told MedWatch that the goal was to achieve positive figures on the bottom line in 2024.

English edit: Catherine Brett

Share article

Sign up for our newsletter

Stay ahead of development by receiving our newsletter on the latest sector knowledge.

Newsletter terms

Front page now

Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Gilead Sciences CMO to leave early 2025

For subscribers

Further reading