Thermo Fisher adds EU viral vector plants in €725m Novasep deal

Thermo Fisher adds three Belgian facilities to its gene therapy contract manufacturing business. The sale is the latest divestment by Novasep.

Thermo Fisher paid approximately €725 million ($878 million) to acquire Novasep’s Henogen viral vector manufacturing business, a business that brought in around €80 million in revenues in 2020.

The deal bolsters Thermo Fisher’s gene therapy capabilities, adding 7,000 square meters of manufacturing space tand 400 staff through three facilities at two locations in Seneffe and Gosselies, Belgium.

Image: iStock/alphaspirit

Thermo Fisher entered the gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) space in March 2019 through its $1.7 billion acquisition of Brammer Bio. Since then, the firm has grown its presence in this high demand sector through expansions at its sites in Alachua, Florida and Lexington, Massachusetts, and the $180 million acquisition of a site in Plainville, Massachusetts last May intended to double the company’s commercial viral vector manufacturing capacity.

But the addition of Novasep’s business brings Thermo Fisher its first foray into Europe on the viral vector manufacturing side.

“This acquisition is an excellent strategic fit and expands Thermo Fisher’s capabilities for cell and gene vaccines and therapies globally,” a Thermo Fisher spokeswoman told this publciation.

“This transaction increases capacity, expertise and expands Thermo Fisher’s geographic footprint for viral vector development and manufacturing to Europe, enabling us to better serve our global customers. It will benefit our global customers seeking support and capacity in the region as well as European customers, bringing new medicines to patients inside and outside of Europe.”

Novasep restructure

The sale comes less than 10 days after Novasep entered a deal to offload its chromatography equipment business to bioprocess vendor Sartorius. That sale formed part of Novasep’s Rise-2 vision refocusing efforts, the firm said, which looks to focus the group towards its core business.

Thermo Fisher is in a premium position to grow the Henogen viral vector business through “significant financial resources, which Henogen – and so, its mother company, Novasep – currently will not have,” a spokesperson from Novasep told us.

“Regarding the future strategy of Novasep, Novasep’s stated ambition is to focus on being a small molecules CDMO. By selling Henogen, Novasep will be able to complete its deleveraging strategy, invest in its assets and increase its critical mass as a small molecule CDMO with a strong focus on technology and innovation.

“Small molecules activity is already the largest part of Novasep’s portfolio. The evolution and outlook of this activity, which has nearly doubled over the past two years, with a trend towards reindustrialization of production in France and in Europe as well as the ‘e-shoring’ of pharmaceutical supply is extremely positive.”

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