Up on the downstream: Sartorius to buy Novasep’s chromatography division

Sartorius Stedim Biotech says it continues to take on the challenges in efficient downstream processing through the proposed addition of Novasep’s chromatography equipment business.

The deal, set to go through in the next few months, will see Sartorius bolster its downstream offering within its Stedim Biotech bioprocessing division. Financial terms have not been disclosed for now, and the acquisition is dependent on antitrust approvals.

“The unit to acquire comprises resin-based batch and intensified chromatography systems, and primarily focuses on high-pressure, multi-use applications for smaller molecules, such as oligonucleotides, peptides and insulin,” Sartorius spokesperson Timo Lindemann said.

The division employs approximately 100 people, the majority working at Novasep’s site in Pompey, France. If the authorities approve the transaction, Sartorius will lease space at the site from Novasep.

According to Sartorius, the proposed acquisition will complement the vendor’s existing chromatography offering, which has grown considerably over the past few years through acquisition as it looks to help industry tackle bottlenecks and efficiency issues in the downstream.

“Efficient downstream processing has remained a challenge in the industry for years, and Sartorius is committed to helping accelerate and simplify this crucial step so that new drugs can be manufactured much more efficiently,” Lindemann told us.

“The [Novasep] portfolio to acquire will perfectly complement our existing chromatography offering and allow us to provide customers with more options for their manufacturing processes.”

In December, the firm paid $36 million to acquire hollow‑fiber membrane manufacturer WaterSep BioSeparations. And just a month before, the firm announced a €360 million ($444 million) deal to buy Slovenian purification tech firm BIA Separations.

And in April last year, Sartorius snapped up chromatography hardware and resins as part of a $750 million deal to buy assets from Danaher Corporation deemed necessary to sell by antitrust authorities to facilitate Danaher’s $21.4 billion acquisition of GE Healthcare’s.

For Novasep, the sale is part of a refocus strategy and according to CEO Michel Spagnol “marks one of the first steps in our Rise-2 strategic program to focus the group towards our core business.”

Novasep told us the Rise-2 vision is to focus on its CDMO activities. According to an educational document produced by the firm, it is a strategy “based on four growth drivers: market orientation, services, talents and innovation.”