Deal-Making

AbbVie: Balancing its blockbusters with its CMO business

Five-year forecasting and careful project selection help AbbVie manage its 13 manufacturing sites to meet both its own pipeline and CMO customer needs, the firm says. Spun-out from Abbott Laboratories in 2013, AbbVie is one of the largest biopharma firms driven by its lead blockbuster biologic Humira (adalimumab). But the firm also has an embedded outsourcing business, and while revenues are not habitually divulged, a 2015 report claimed annual contract manufacturing organization (CMO) sales of more than $500 million. “With…

Boehringer to buy cancer vaccine firm AMAL for €325m

The acquisition will be the latest boost for Boehringer Ingelheim in the immune cell-directed therapy space, adding a fusion protein platform and a colorectal cancer vaccine candidate. AMAL’s lead candidate is ATP128, a vaccine in development for stage IV colorectal cancer. The candidate, set to enter the clinic this month, is based on AMAL Therapeutic’s KISIMA technology platform, which brings together three components into a fusion protein used as a vaccine. These are a cell-penetrating peptide for antigen delivery, a…

Rights of Passage: Paragon building dedicated gene therapy suite

CDMO Catalent’s unit Paragon will construct a dedicated manufacturing suite in Maryland to service Passage Bio’s clinical and commercial gene therapies using fixed-bed bioreactor technology. Paragon Bioservices – renamed Paragon Gene Therapy following its $1.2 billion (€1.1 billion) acquisition by contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) – has been selected by Philadelphia-based Passage Bio to manufacture its AAV-delivered gene therapies for monogenic central nervous system diseases. As such, the CDMO will build a dedicated suite in Harmans, Maryland, near Baltimore…

Instrumental deal: Agilent to bolster cell analysis biz with BioTek buy

Agilent Technologies’ $1.165 billion acquisition of cell analysis firm BioTek Instruments will bring increased exposure to biopharma end markets, according to an analyst. Life sciences technology and services firm Agilent has agreed to pay $1.165 billion (€1 billion) for BioTek Instruments, adding numerous cell analysis tools to its portfolio. These include cell imaging systems, microplate readers, washers, dispensers, automated incubators and stackers, all used in the analysis and quantification of biomolecules and cell therapies. “[BioTek] positions Agilent well in the…

Investment digest: News from Pfizer, Bayer and Altimmune

Pfizer has completed its $340 million Theracon buy, Bayer pumps $250 million into allogeneic stem cell venture, and Altimmune set to buy NASH drug developer. Welcome to Bioprocess Insider’s investment round-up. First up, Pfizer has added Therachon Holding AG to its business, bringing it assets in development for the treatment of achondroplasia and short bowel syndrome (SBS). The deal, announced in May, saw Pfizer shell out $340 million (€300 million) upfront for the Swiss biotech but the Big Biopharma could…

M&A hungry BioLife to buy cold-chain services firm SAVSU

Having gradually increased its stake in the cloud-based cold-chain management firm, BioLife Solutions will buy the remaining 56% of shares to bolster its cell and gene therapy offering. Supplier of cell and gene therapy tools BioLife has been experiencing huge growth over the past few quarters (51% increase year-on-year for its Q1 2019, for example) due to the high demand for bio-preservation media and automated thawing products. The firm has been looking to take advantage of the continued demand from…

Ohr pushes for oligonucleotide merger with NeuBase

Ohr Pharmaceutical has urged its shareholders to vote for a merger with Neubase Therapeutics at a special meeting this week, creating an entity focused on RNA gene silencing. The reverse merger, first announced in January, would create a public company focused on advancing NeuBase’s peptide-nucleic acid (PNA) antisense oligonucleotide (PATrOL) technology platform for the development of therapies to address severe diseases caused by genetic mutations, including Huntington’s disease and myotonic dystrophy. However, the deal is at risk of not going…

Lonza takes parenteral control through Novartis plant buy and contract

CDMO Lonza has acquired a fill & finish facility in Switzerland from big pharma firm Novartis it says boosts its end-to-end offering. The deal sees contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza take over the reins at fellow Swiss firm Novartis’ sterile, multi-product drug product facility in Stein. Lonza will retain operational and management staff at the site and manufacture clinical drug product for Novartis. Financial details have not been disclosed. “The facility can handle liquid and lyophilized dosage forms…

Amicus contracts Thermo Fisher to make Batten disease gene therapy

Brammer Bio, now part of Thermo Fisher, will provide clinical and commercial manufacturing capabilities for gene therapy developer Amicus Therapeutics. Under terms of the deal, Amicus has teamed with Thermo Fisher to support its intrathecal AAV Batten disease gene therapy programs. The agreement includes production of Amicus’ clinical candidates CLN6 and CLN3, with production set to be transferred to Thermo Fisher’s manufacturing sites in Alachua, Florida, and Cambridge, Massachusetts The contract is “a significant next step in fulfilling our manufacturing…

AbbVie: Lack of Botox biosimilars a factor in $63bn Allergan buy

AbbVie, a firm all too familiar with biosimilar threats, says the low risk of Botox competition was a factor in its decision to acquire Allergan. The agreed $63 billion (€55 billion) megamerger with Allergan strengthens AbbVie’s pharma assets and provides the firm with a healthy growth platform, Bioprocess Insider reported last week. Allergan’s lead product neurotoxic protein Botox (botulinum toxin) brought in $3.6 billion in sales revenue in 2018 and will add immediate add scale to AbbVie in neuroscience, as…