DANBURY, Conn., Oct. 25, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ATMI, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATMI) today announced that it has further extended its global biopharma manufacturing footprint with the opening of a new Chinese manufacturing facility as part of a joint venture with Austar, a Hong Kong-based comprehensive service provider to the China pharmaceutical industry.

The joint venture, ATMI Austar LifeSciences Limited, originated with the goal of producing and marketing high-end, ultra-clean sterile materials packaging for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and sterile pharmaceutical components to meet growing demand across the biopharmaceutical industry in the Asia-Pacific region. The new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Beijing, which was brought online today at an official Grand Opening ceremony attended by customers and Chinese FDA and government officials, represents a significant step toward that goal.

Under the joint venture agreement, ATMI Austar LifeSciences will be producing certain ATMI LifeSciences products, including Cleansteam TM products, with local blow-film extrusion and packaging converting lines using a copy-exact strategy. The new Beijing facility also offers potential expansion opportunities for ATMI's Integrity TM line of bioprocess vessels (BPVs) manufacturing, which management says could be rolled out directly as the Asian biotech market continues to emerge.

"This joint venture not only provides ATMI LifeSciences with access to the API and biopharmaceutical markets in Asia but also access to Austar's existing ISO Class V GMP-certified, cleanroom-based infrastructure that we can begin to leverage immediately," commented Mario Philips, General Manager and Senior Vice-President of ATMI LifeSciences.  "Together, under the ATMI Austar LifeSciences banner, we are working to create a new standard for advanced materials packaging for pharmaceutical manufacturing throughout the region."

The new Beijing facility's capabilities include blow extrusion of films and ultra clean packaging converting and assembly lines, for use in ultra-clean sterile packaging applications for steam or gamma irradiation applications. In addition to film extrusion and packaging converting lines, the facility also features warehousing and significant cleanroom extension opportunities. It will also serve as a back-up facility for ATMI LifeSciences' Hoegaarden, Belgium plant, providing enhanced supply chain security and contingency for ATMI customers globally.