China-based pharmaceutical company to acquire former Rhodes site

Pharmaron, a China-based life sciences and pharmaceutical research and development support services company, will acquire the former Rhodes Technologies and Rhodes Pharmaceuticals manufacturing site in Coventry. / PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

COVENTRY – The former site of a Rhode Island opioid manufacturer sued for its role in the opioid epidemic is set to be acquired by a Beijing-based pharmaceutical and life sciences research and development company.

Pharmaron, which has locations in China, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the United States, announced on Wednesday that it has entered into a purchase agreement with Noramco, another pharmaceutical manufacturer that currently owns the site.

Pharmaron supports research, development and manufacturing services “throughout the entire drug discovery, preclinical and clinical development process,” according to the company’s statement on the acquisition.

The 498 Washington St. site’s former occupants, Purdue Pharma L.P. subsidiaries Rhodes Technologies and Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, were among the defendants named in a lawsuit that Rhode Island filed against Purdue Pharma and Richard Sackler for using deceptive sales and marketing tactics that numerous state officials alleged led to overprescribing of opioids.

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The state eventually reached a $107 million settlement with the drug manufacturers, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced in March.

In a statement, Pharmaron CEO and Chairman Boliang Lou said that the Coventry site will advance the company’s expansion efforts in U.S. chemistry and manufacturing services.

The site has a “proven regulatory and commercial manufacturing track record, combined with the highly experienced and stable team,” Lou said, and “provides a unique opportunity to rapidly expand our chemistry and manufacturing services capabilities in North America and enrich our global network of services.

“This transaction is another important step in realizing our vision of becoming a leading global provider of integrated drug R&D and manufacturing services,” he added.

A spokesperson for the company could not immediately be reached for further comment on the terms of the acquisition and plans for manufacturing at the site.

Pharmaron was founded in 2004 and employs more than 15,000 people globally.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.

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