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Founded 1959 (1959)
Key people
  • Guy Villax (CEO)
  • Diane Villax (chairman)
  • Pharmaceutical Fine Chemicals
  • Off-Patent APIs
  • Inhalation
  • Drug Substance
  • Drug Product
  • Particle Engineering
  • Proprietary Product Licensing
Number of employees
1,170 (2012)
Website www.hovione.com

Hovione is a Portuguese company that produces active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and conducts drug product intermediates development and compliant manufacture. It has sites in the United States, Portugal, Ireland and China. The company provides a number of products and services to the pharmaceutical industry including separate or integrated API, pre-formulated compounds, particle engineering, formulation development and manufacturing. It also supports highly potent compounds and proprietary product development and licensing for drug products. It is also present in the inhalation area.


Ivan Villax - 1950

Hovione continues to be a privately held company with 5 plants - in Portugal (1969), Macao (1986), New Jersey (2001), Taizhou in mainland China (2008) and Cork, Ireland (2009) - have a total reactor capacity of 1300 m³ and 1100 people worldwide. Since Hovione started operations in 1959, the company has patented more than 100 innovative chemical processes and produced industrially over 45 different APIs. All Hovione sites have been successfully inspected either by FDA, European Medicines Agency or the PMDA Japanese agency.[1][2][3][4]

Hovione is a major source of semi-synthetic tetracyclines and corticosteroids, and is the largest independent supplier of contrast agents – these three families of compounds make up most of its generic product portfolio. The other half of the business focuses on exclusive projects:[5][6]

  • Development and manufacture of innovator APIs
  • Particle Engineering: manipulations of physical properties of APIs, polymeric encapsulation
  • Development of formulations for pulmonary delivery

Research and development[edit]

Hovione invested an estimated $12.7 million in research and development in 2005, equal to around 15 per cent of sales in 2005. The Portuguese company claimed to be the pharmaceutical producer with the highest R&D investment in Portugal.[7]


Hovione was always present in the pharmaceutical industry offering products and services related to the development and manufacture of either a new chemical entity (NCE) for an exclusive contract manufacturing partner or an existing API for an off-patent product. In nowadays it is an integrated solution provider, from process chemistry to particle engineering to formulation, from very small scale to full commercial capacity and from preclinical to market. In the area of technologies, it has capabilities in spray drying (also for potent drugs), spray congealing, fluidized spray drying, aseptic spray drying, jet milling, controlled crystallization, microfluidization. And methodologies Quality by Design, process analytical technology (PAT), britest, lean, scale-up science, modeling.


  1. ^ Fine Chemicals: The Industry and the Business – 2nd Edition, Wiley 2012
  2. ^ EPM Magazine
  3. ^ “How to avoid icebergs” – Speciality Chemicals Magazine
  4. ^ “A test tube in three continents” - Macao Magazine
  5. ^ “Handling potent drug materials” – Clean Room Technology
  6. ^ “What is special about inhalation APIs?” - Drug Delivery Technology
  7. ^ Hovione shows the way for Portugal's manufacturers

External links[edit]