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Aptuit, Inc. to Invest More Than $100 Million in Laurus Labs (India); Dr. Satyanarayana Chava Named Aptuit Laurus CEO, Joins Board


6/18/2007 9:38:48 AM

GREENWICH, Conn. & HYDERABAD, India--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aptuit, Inc. and Laurus Labs Limited today announced the formation of a new contract drug development company, Aptuit Laurus, which will combine Aptuit's global offerings in drug development with Laurus' R&D and manufacturing expertise and newly built state-of-the-art facilities. The combined company will provide established and emerging pharmaceutical companies with integrated services, technologies and manufacturing capabilities that span the entire drug development continuum.

The new entity, Aptuit Laurus Private Limited, will use the trade name Aptuit Laurus, and will be based in Hyderabad with additional facilities in Vishakhapatnam and Bangalore. Aptuit Laurus will initially provide services to clients in early-stage drug discovery, medicinal chemistry, lead optimization, process development, scale-up and process optimization, safety and hazard assessment, formulation development and analytical chemistry. Aptuit Laurus will be comprised of Laurus' newly-established 160,000 square foot research and development facility in Hyderabad, which already employs over 200 scientific personnel; Laurus' large-scale manufacturing plant, which is currently under construction on over 34 acres of land in Pharma City, Vishakhapatnam; and Aptuit's existing Informatics Development and Support group of 100 employees in Bangalore.

Aptuit has further committed to invest approximately $100 million over the next four years to build upon Aptuit Laurus' development, manufacturing and informatics capabilities with the addition of a complete suite of development services including: medicinal chemistry, preclinical, solid-state chemistry, consulting, clinical packaging and logistics, Phase I/IIa research and large-scale dosage form manufacturing. When these investments are completed, Aptuit Laurus will mirror the full suite of services offered by Aptuit in North America and Europe. In addition, the new company will further extend those development services to offer expanded services in discovery and clinical research and access to larger-scale manufacturing at the back-end of the product development lifecycle. .

"Laurus Labs shares our strategic vision to build an end-to-end drug development services partner with high service levels and an emphasis on technology, and their offerings align neatly with ours," said Michael A. Griffith, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aptuit, Inc. "We share similar core values as well - they are customer-driven, talent-obsessed, committed to innovation and performance, and uncompromising in their standards for quality. It's an excellent cultural fit, and provides a new set of choices for our 600 pharmaceutical company clients. We are committed to integrating all of our major systems including sales, contracts, IT, quality, project management and finance to present one face to our global customer base."

"Aptuit is the ideal strategic partner for Laurus," said Dr. Satyanarayana Chava, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Laurus Labs. "Our strengths are complementary, and we are very focused on the value and efficiencies to be gained for our customers in having access to a full range of research, development and manufacturing capabilities and services on a truly global scale. We see this as a very powerful combination, one that benefits our customers quite uniquely."

Dr. Satyanarayana brings more than 20 years of industry experience to the partnership, including his most recent role as Chief Operating Officer of Matrix Laboratories Limited, where he played a key role in transforming that company into one of the major pharmaceutical companies in India. Dr. Satyanarayana founded Laurus with two colleagues in late 2005 with a significant personal investment from him and his co-founders, all of which will be rolled into Aptuit Laurus.

"Dr. Satyanarayana has a highly-distinguished track record and reputation as a pharmaceutical R&D scientist and as an entrepreneur. Aptuit and Laurus were coincidentally launched at about the same time with similarly bold visions, and as such we are honored to have Satya join Aptuit's Board of Directors," said Frank J. Wright, Vice Chairman and Co-Founder of Aptuit.

Aptuit Laurus Facilities & Services

Hyderabad: The Laurus R&D Center is a state-of-the-art facility situated on over 7 acres in the ICICI Knowledge Park near Hyderabad. The facility was recently completed and offers over 40 labs for process chemistry, formulation and analytical development and kilo lab production, including an ability to handle highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredients and low temperature and high pressure chemistry. The site will also be the hub for the Aptuit Laurus University, which will offer new graduate recruits an intensive six-month classroom and lab-based training program. Those finishing the course, which has been designed by accredited chemistry educators and developed in collaboration with the local universities, will be awarded a professional completion certificate. The site currently employs over 200 employees, though there is planned capacity for up to 400 chemists, 200 analysts, and 100 formulation scientists.

Vishakhapatnam: The large-scale manufacturing site in Vishakhapatnam is currently under construction on 34 acres of land in Pharma City. The initial phase will create stand-alone process R&D and scale-up capability, including a dedicated pilot plant, and flexible manufacturing blocks capable of producing kilo to multi-tonne quantities in over 120 vessels. The initial phase includes dedicated production blocks for cytotoxic and corticosteroid compound production and leaves ample space on the 34-acre parcel for significant future expansion. This phase is expected to be completed by early 2008. The company also has an option to buy an additional 10 acres land for future expansion.

Bangalore: Aptuit's Bangalore site was established as a center of excellence for software design and development and the 'manufacture' of Clinicopia, the industry leading clinical packaging and supply management product suite in use at 8 major pharmaceutical companies and Aptuit's six global clinical packaging facilities. In addition to providing ongoing maintenance and support for current users, Bangalore will provide the critical development support needed for the next generation of Clinicopia, currently expected out next year, as well as other informatics solutions which will enable all Aptuit and Aptuit Laurus customers to share project-based information in a secure, real-time web based environment.

Aptuit Laurus, India and IP Protection

India is rapidly emerging as an attractive R&D and manufacturing services destination for the global pharmaceutical industry. India has an exceptionally skilled workforce, competitive labor and material costs, a well-established infrastructure for local and international regulatory approvals and the largest number of FDA approved manufacturing plants outside the US. The country is consistently top-ranked by AT Kearney and the Economist Intelligence Unit for providing such services, based in large part on the region's skilled workforce and quality of output.

Aptuit Laurus draws upon these resources to offer a strong value proposition to global pharmaceutical companies. The company will also play a vital role in creating, securing and safeguarding intellectual property for its clients. The security of IP in the region is further supported by the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other steps taken by the Indian government to protect product patents. Having a presence in India is becoming essential in the increasingly global drug development market, and Aptuit Laurus is at the forefront of this movement, drawing upon the region's resources to offer a strong value proposition to global pharmaceutical companies.

"Aptuit believes a strong presence in Asia is critical to its mission of engineering a better drug development process. We believe it is a mistake to enter India and China primarily in search of operational savings. We have approached our expansion into India as a strategic priority which would go beyond this rationale in pursuit of high quality science and a leadership role in the large and quickly evolving pharmaceutical consumer markets in these two countries," said Mike Griffith.

Aptuit was advised by UBS Securities India Pvt. Ltd., Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Amarchand Mangaldas Suresh & Shroff . Laurus was advised by Daulet Singh Associates.

Aptuit Laurus Governance

Aptuit Laurus will be led locally by Dr. Satyanarayana and his existing management team, which will expand as new services are added, and will be governed by a newly established Board of Directors. The Board will be composed of seven members, three of whom will be Aptuit's designees, three of whom will be designees of the founder shareholders of Laurus Labs Limited, and one mutually agreed upon independent director. A three member Executive Committee of the Board comprised of the independent director, one designee of the founder shareholders of Laurus Labs Limited and one designee of Aptuit will approve certain material transactions. Aptuit expects to achieve majority control of Aptuit Laurus by March 2009 as part of its ongoing funding.

About Aptuit:

Aptuit, Inc. is a global company focused on streamlining and supporting the drug development process for biotechnology and pharmaceutical innovators. The company was founded by a group of industry experts with extensive market experience who have a track record of building a similar, highly successful company through acquisitions and investment. Aptuit provides a comprehensive suite of product development services and competencies to more than 600 biotechnology and large, fully integrated pharmaceutical innovators worldwide. Currently, the company has more than 2,000 employees, 15 global facilities, and resources to reach 70 countries. Aptuit's mission is to engineer a better drug development process, and is partnered with Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, one of the world's largest private equity investors. For more information about Aptuit, please visit www.aptuit.com.

About Laurus Labs:

Laurus Labs is a knowledge resource and solution provider supported by a team of scientists with proven innovative R&D and manufacturing capabilities. Laurus focuses on offering process chemistry, formulation development and analytical services, and is committed to developing intellectual property and cost-effective, novel synthetic routes. Each member of Laurus' seasoned management team brings more than 20 years of experience across scientific, business, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical capabilities. Committed to personalized service, Laurus provides dedicated project management teams to its customers and collaborative research partners. For more information about Laurus Labs, please visit: www.lauruslabs.com.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5427988

Contact: Aptuit, Inc. CEO Michael A. Griffith, (203) 660-6000 info@aptuit.com or Laurus Labs CEO Dr. Satyanarayana Chava, 91 40 23480480 info@lauruslabs.com or Feinstein Kean Healthcare Krystle Ficco, (617) 761-6702 Cell: (508) 479-6358 krystle.ficco@fkhealth.com

Source: Aptuit, Inc.



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