The Ercros plant in Aranjuez, located in the province of Madrid, began operating in 1949 under the name Compañía Española de Penicilina y Antibióticos (Cepa), established to produce and package penicillin and other antibiotics.
Cepa had won, together with the U.S. company Merck & Co. Inc., the tender called by the Spanish government to develop the Spanish antibiotics industry, so as to provide the country with its own supply of penicillin. This tender granted Cepa the right to carry on these activities, under the Spanish Decree published in August 1949, making it the first Spanish company to manufacture antibiotics.
In September 1951, the first antibiotics plant in Spain was opened in Aranjuez with the most modern equipment and processes of the time. The plant’s initial production capacity was 1.5 million bottles representing 200,000 units of crystallised sodium penicillin a month.
In the months following the plant’s opening, the units were expanded to begin production of streptomycin. A further expansion in 1952 similarly made it possible to double the initial production of penicillin, accordingly satisfying the needs of the Spanish market. In 1955 the Aranjuez plant already had a workforce of 180.
In 1968, Cepa, in conjunction with Merck, developed a new antibiotic, phosphomycin, and began producing it on an industrial scale in 1971 at its Aranjuez facility. Two years later, the factory started production of yet another antibiotic: erythromycin.
In 1974, Cepa was taken over by Unión Explosivos Río Tinto, S.A. (ERT). Fifteen years later, ERT merged with S.A. Cros to form Ercros.
In 1990, Cepa was split into two separate companies: Cepa and Fyse. The former, which retained the finished products line, was hived off from the Group and sold to the Paribas Santé Group. Fyse retained the active pharmaceutical ingredients division and the Aranjuez plant.
The Aranjuez facility currently constitutes Ercros' Pharmaceuticals division. Its activities centre on the production and marketing of raw materials and intermediary pharmaceutical products.
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