Pharmaron to buy Allergan Biologics biz from AbbVie for $119m

The addition of a plant in Liverpool, UK, from AbbVie will support ambitions in the biologics and cell and gene therapy space, says service firm Pharmaron.

Chinese pharma services firm Pharmaron Beijing Co is set to pay $118.7 million in cash to AbbVie for its Allergan Biologics Limited (ABL) business, located in Liverpool, UK.

AbbVie acquired ABL as part of its $63 billion acquisition of Allergan in 2019. The proposed sale – expected to go through in the second quarter of 2021 – will propel Pharmaron into the manufacturing space.

“Pharmaron has the ambition to operate the ABL facility as an independent CDMO with a focus on biologics and more importantly cell and gene therapy products, fully integrated into Pharmaron global operations and service offering across drug development/manufacturing,” a spokesperson for Pharmaron told this publication.

“The acquisition of Allergan Biologics will be highly synergistic to Pharmaron’s current offering and Pharmaron is committed to further expanding capabilities and capacities at the ABL site to meet growing unmet demand.”

ABL consists of a cGMP biomanufacturing facility and offers “bulk drug substance development for brand innovative biologics and advanced therapies throughout their product lifecycle,” the business’s LinkedIn page states.

According to 2018 accounts, the site has supported projects including the development and manufacture of AstraZeneca’s monoclonal antibody brazikumab, and work for gene-editing firm Editas.

Building a CGT services firm

The plant purchase follows the acquisition of non-clinical contract research organization (CRO) Absorption Systems for $137.5 million in November, and according to the firm the two acquisitions go hand-in-hand.

“Absorption Systems is the only analytical CRO dedicated to supporting cell, gene, and immunotherapies. The GLP/GMP facilities of US-based Absorption Systems have core expertise in DMPK/ADME, regulated bioanalysis, transporters, human PK prediction, and translational pharmaceutics.

“With its location in Europe and complementary expertise in the development/ manufacturing phases, Allergan Biologics will be highly synergistic to the acquisition of Absorption Systems for building an integrated global CGT services platform. This integrated platform will offer preclinical research, product development, and commercial manufacturing services for CGT products, providing unparalleled value proposition to our partners in this rapidly growing field of innovative therapies.”

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