This morning, Piramal Pharma Solutions, a company that specializes in developing cancer treatment drugs, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at its facility in Riverview celebrating a major expansion that will hopefully be just the first step toward more growth to come. This expansion involved the construction of a 4,400 square- foot laboratory and product processing facility (manufacturing) and a 6,600 square-foot office addition. This expansion was completed in January of 2019.
Piramal is an India-based global drug manufacturer that acquired Ash Stevens, a local generic drug and active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing company, in 2016. Piramal makes the active ingredients which go into cancer medications. Piramal/Ash Stevens has invested over $57 million in its Riverview facility since 2000.
"What you do says a lot about where we're trying to take Detroit, Wayne County and the State. You're in a very specialized area which I believe helps to showcase this county," said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. "I can't think of anything that's more relevant to all of us. What could be more important? All of us have families, I think, that have been touched by cancer."
The Piramal facility is fairly unique in Michigan and demonstrates that Wayne County can support the most diverse, cutting edge, high tech pharmaceutical manufacturing in the world. It demonstrates the type of high end, non-automotive manufacturing that takes place in Wayne County. Thirty percent of the workforce has PhDs.
"People forget that with Pfizer, Upjohn, in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, this is the pharma hub. Not quite what it used to be, but we're rebuilding it right here in Riverview," said John Fowler, Pharma's Chief Operating Officer.
"What they do here is highly complex. The mission of what we do is all about serving our patients. Cancer has touched everybody in this room. Somebody in their family or friends have suffered from it, and the medications that they collaborate on to produce and develop, not only manufacture but develop. It's a very extensive, highly-regulated process and these guys do a phenomenal job. Highly complex medicines that are saving peoples' lives. So there's no better mission than that."
Over the years, Ash Stevens has received 14 Food and Drug Administration manufacturing approvals for innovator application program interface (APIs), including fast-track manufacturing approvals for the active ingredients for the oncology drugs Velcade, Vidaza, Clolar and Iclusig. Ash Stevens develops comprehensive small-molecule drug substances and cGMP (current good manufacturing practices). The company also provides contract research services to the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.
Founded in 1962 by Arthur Ash (not the famous tennis player) and Calvin Stevens, privately held Ash Stevens was the first business to spin off from Wayne State University's chemistry department. The company, which employs 120 workers, researches and manufactures active ingredients for pharmaceutical drug makers. They recently added 40 employees and have plans to add another 40 in the near future.
"This is not only a growing workforce but a well-educated workforce, which I think tends to highlight the region," said Executive Evans. "This is very, very important to show the diversity of the kinds of businesses that we can support."
"Like all successful economic development projects, this was a collaborative effort. The leadership representing the City of Riverview, and Wayne County stepped up to the plate and helped make this expansion effort a success," said Vince Ammoscato, Vice President of Piramal Pharma Solutions.