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Shares of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (SIAL - Analyst Report) gained as much as 1.1% after it announced that SAFC Commercial, its the custom manufacturing services business unit, has expanded production at the Arklow facility in Ireland. The expansion at the facility was done to produce new PharmaGrade products. The company’s shares eventually closed at $83.76 in the trading session following the announcement, gaining around 0.7%.

SAFC is now producing highly regulated active and non-active pharmaceutical ingredients/raw materials at the Arklow facility, which complements the raw materials production that started at the site earlier this year.  

SAFC selected Arklow facility for this expansion owing to its specialized and highly regulated manufacturing capability. Each and every PharmaGrade products offer high purity and they meet and exceed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) for biopharmaceutical production, adhere to International Consortium for Innovation and Quality in Pharmaceutical Development (IQ) requirements, and has consistently passed FDA and Irish Medicines Board (IMB) inspections. PharmaGrade products also follow ICH Q7 guidelines.

The new PharmaGrade products are built from difficult-to-source materials developed from research to commercial-scale volumes. SAFC utilized Arklow's purification, recrystallization and distillation competencies to produce a short list of catalog products in the PharmaGrade product line.

PharmaGrade product line includes benzyl alcohol, ethanolamine, fumaric acid, N-acetyl-DL-tryptophan, sodium benzoate, sodium butyrate and hexylene glycol products. These products started their transition process to the Arklow facility in the fourth quarter of 2011 and were upgraded to meet PharmaGrade guidelines prior to production that commenced this year. SAFC also have plans to expand its PharmaGrade product offering with the expected launch of D-galactose in fourth-quarter 2013.

The PharmaGrade product line offers excellent quality of products, which carry additive value of quality documentation packages, readily-available inventory and multiple batches to support the biopharma and pharma customer’s qualification activities.

Sigma-Aldrich is among the leading players in the specialty chemical space along with American Pacific Corp. and American Vanguard Corp. (AVD - Snapshot Report). It is a leading life sciences and high technology company. It develops, manufactures and distributes various biochemicals and organic chemicals.

The SAFC Commercial unit is focused on biochemical production and manufacturing of complex organic compounds. The division manufactures and distributes bulk quantities of organic chemicals and biochemicals used by pharmaceutical, biotechnology, industrial, and diagnostic companies to develop and produce therapeutics.

Sigma-Aldrich carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Ferro Corp. (FOE - Snapshot Report), with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), is a good option for investment in the specialty chemical industry.

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