WuXi AppTec absorbs Oxgene to expand cell and gene services

WuXi AppTec acquires its first facility in Europe as part of deal that adds manufacturing systems and contract researching tools.

As part of the acquisition, Oxgene will become a subsidiary of WuXi Advanced Therapies (WuXi ATU), which is WuXi AppTec’s cell and gene therapy contract testing, development and manufacturing organization.

Oxgene, which will retain its name, is a contract research and development organization based in Oxford, UK, that provides cell and gene therapy discovery and biomanufacturing platforms. The company offers services to take customer projects from laboratory bench to GMP scale, with downstream purification also part of its platform.

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WuXi AppTec will pay $135 million (€111.6 million) to acquire Oxgene, which will add its first European location to its international network, which includes facilities in China, South Korea, and the US. When asked, a spokesperson for WuXi AppTec confirmed that this would be the first step of further expansion in the European region.

The spokesperson explained why the acquisition was attractive for the company: “The strategic rationale for WuXi AppTec is that it would enable WuXi ATU to offer its global customers the first end-to-end solution to develop cutting-edge cell and gene therapies, from early genetic molecular research and discovery through development and cGMP manufacturing at scale for global commercialization.”

In particular, the spokesperson noted that Oxgene’s capabilities would result in ‘faster, less expensive’ commercialization of cell and gene therapies, potentially improving the commercialization of advanced therapies by ‘multiple orders of magnitude’.

Founded in 2011, Oxgene began as a plasmid catalog business that developed to offer manufacturing solutions for adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and lentivirus platforms, known as TESSA and XLenti, respectively.

At the time of the TESSA platform’s launch, the company stated that the platform would provide improved yields of AAV2 by 40-fold compared to the industry standard.

Last year, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies licensed AAV vector technology from Oxgene, suggesting that the latter’s platforms could cut lead time of its customer’s projects by three to six months, at the time the deal was announced.