IFF is selling off its pharma solutions business for $2.85B – FiercePharma

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After a two-year stint under Merck & Co. veteran Frank Clyburn, New York’s International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) is stripping away a major component of its healthcare persona.

IFF—which dabbles in food, beverage, beauty and pharmaceutical supply chains, among others—has agreed to sell its pharma solutions business to French plant-based ingredient maker Roquette for up to $2.85 billion.

The pharma solutions business encompasses multiple IFF units and will also see Roquette get its hands on IFF’s global specialty solutions business focused on industrial and methyl cellulosic food applications, the companies said in a press release Tuesday.

IFF will use the proceeds from the sale in large part to help reduce its debt, the company’s new CEO, Erik Fyrwald, said in a statement.

IFF’s pharma solutions business primarily develops and manufactures pharmaceutical excipients. The business unit also cranks out cellulosics, seaweed extracts, ultrapure biopolymers and specialized synthetic polymers, according to IFF’s website. The pharma solutions business offers products like Avicel, a binder and compression aid for drug tablet making.

IFF’s pharma solutions business runs a total of 10 research and development and manufacturing sites around the world, employing around 1,100 staffers, the company explained in its release. The business unit generated revenues of roughly $1 billion in 2023.

It’s not immediately clear whether the current slate of IFF pharma solutions staffers will be moving over to Roquette following the completion of the deal.

IFF and Roquette have said they expect the acquisition to close in the first half of 2025.

Over the past several years, IFF has been on a mission to slim down its business. In mid-2021, the company struck a deal to sell its microbial control business to German specialty chemicals company LANXESS for $1.3 billion. And, in late 2022, the company penned a $900 million sale of its savory solutions group to PAI Partners, a private equity firm focused primarily on the food and consumer industries.

Roquette, for its part, has been seeking to expand its pharmaceutical footprint. Last July, the company said it would acquire hard capsule maker Qualicaps, which is headquartered in Nara, Japan, and previously operated under the Mitsubishi Chemical Group. Qualicaps boasts manufacturing and R&D sites in Japan, Spain, Romania, Canada, Brazil and the U.S.

Meanwhile, IFF notably recruited Frank Clyburn—former executive vice president and president of Merck’s human health outfit—to head up the company as CEO back in early 2022. IFF picked a new CEO in Fyrwald in January, signaling an end to the company’s two-year run under Clyburn. Fyrwald became chief executive Feb. 6, though he’s working with Clyburn on the leadership transition directly until March 31, at which point Clyburn will go on to serve in an advisory capacity through the end of December.

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