Baxter sells Bloomington plant with 1,000 workers to private investors

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This biopharma plant in Bloomington has been sold and will operate under the Simtra name. (Photo courtesy of Simtra)

One of Bloomington’s largest employers is now under new ownership, following the decision by Baxter International to sell its biopharma operations to a new company backed by private-equity and investment firms.

The Bloomington plant, with about 1,000 employees, is the fifth-largest employer in Monroe County, according to the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, and is poised for more growth.

The main plant, a 600,000-square-foot manufacturing complex at 927 S. Curry Pike, about three miles west of downtown Bloomington, makes pre-filled medical syringes and vials.

It operates as a contract development and manufacturing operation, meaning many of its customers are pharmaceutical companies that need extra manufacturing capacity or biotechs that don’t have their own factories.

Baxter, based in Deerfield, Illinois, sold the operations, with facilities in Bloomington and Halle, Germany, for $4.25 billion. The buyers are Advent International, a global private equity investor based in Boston, and Warburg Pincus, a global growth investor based in New York City. The deal closed last month.

The operation will run as a standalone company under the new name of Simtra BioPharma Solutions, with headquarters in New Jersey.

“Simtra is poised to accelerate its go-to-market strategy under the new brand, expand its drug development offering, and execute on capacity expansion,” T.J. Carella, managing director at Warburg Pincus, said in a statement.

Bloomington plant manager Patrick Adams could not be immediately reached by phone or email. He told the Bloomington Times-Herald the company plans to construct a new building on its Bloomington campus to add more manufacturing, with hundreds more employees to be hired.

The Bloomington operation now includes two warehouses and a packaging facility, in addition to the main complex with its filling lines.

The factory produced Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, and now makes a wide assortment of medicines.

The company said the plant has 27 years of manufacturing experience and is one of the largest contract manufacturers of sterile products in North America. Three years ago, Baxter announced a $50 million expansion of the facility, which was completed in 2021.

Baxter, although it is leaving biopharma business, is not completely pulling out of southern Indiana. Two years ago, Baxter bought Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., a maker of hospital beds. That operation’s primary factory and administration are located in Batesville, where more than 900 people work.

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