Deal-Making

CGT services round-up: News from Catalent, Thermo Fisher and Aruvant

Catalent signs agreement with Trizell, Thermo Fisher Scientific partners with JW Therapeutics and Aruvant chooses Lonza to manufacture a sickle cell gene therapy. Lovely to have you here for BioProcess Insider’s CGT services round-up. First up in our cell and gene therapy (CGT) services round-up is Catalent, which recently confirmed an agreement with Trizell to support the manufacturing of Trizell’s Phase I therapy to treat micro and macroangiopathies. The firm’s therapeutic is an advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) which uses…

Gilead Sciences partner with Gritstone for potential HIV cure

Gilead has partnered with Gritstone to develop an HIV-specific therapeutic vaccine in a deal worth up to $725 million.  Gilead will pay $60 million when the deal closes, but could pay Gritstone up to $725 million if the option is exercised and commercial, clinical and regulatory milestones are achieved.   “Gilead and Gritstone are partnering together to test the ability of Gritstone’s vaccine platform to stimulate T cell (immune) responses against HIV,” a spokesperson for Gilead told BioProcess Insider. “This approach may have the…

Wacker acquires plasmid DNA manufacturer Genopis for $39m

The German chemical company Wacker takes over Genopis from Helixmith, adding plasmid DNA to its CDMO offering. In 2018, Helixmith (formerly ViroMed) and private equity firm, Medivate Partners created Genopis. Wacker paid $39 million in cash for Genopis with the potential for further payment depending on performance-based payments under a so-called earn-out model. The deal is expected to close in Q1, 2021. Wacker will continue Genopis’ current customer relationships as a contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) for plasmid DNA (pDNA).…

Merck partners with Artiva to develop off-the-shelf CAR-NK therapies

Merck & Co. has paid Artiva Biotherapeutics $30 million to develop up to three off-the-shelf CAR-NK cell therapies. On top of the $30 million Artiva has received for the first two programs, an additional $15 million will be paid by Merck (known as MSD outside of North America) if they decide to opt for a third program. Artiva has the potential to receive up to $612 million per program depending on future development, commercial milestones and global sales of the…

Just-Evotec Biologics expands COVID-19 contract with DOD

Just-Evotec Biologics has entered an agreement worth $28.6 million with the Department of Defense to manufacture monoclonal antibodies for the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2. The collaboration started in July 2020 and resulted in rapid process development and manufacturing of mAbs against COVID-19. To meet the expanded contract obligations, the firm will use its J.POD facility in Redmond, Washington – 15 miles east of Seattle – to manufacture SARS-CoV-2 mAbs as a potential treatment for COVID-19. The firm has said it will…

Filling in its drug product offering: Cytiva buys Vanrx Pharmasystems

Cytiva’s first acquisition since being acquired by Danaher sees it add robotic aseptic filling machines to its bioprocess offering. Vanrx Pharmasystems, and all 120 staff, will be incorporated into Cytiva, after the bioprocess vendor acquired the Canadian company for an undisclosed fee. Vanrx makes standardized aseptic filling technologies for filling vials, syringes, and cartridges, including its SA25 range of aseptic and lyophilized technologies, and the Microcell Vial Filler – a closed robotic isolator for pharmaceutical vial filling. “For now, this…

Bio-CDMOs remain in the small molecule game despite divestments

While CDMOs continue to expand biologics and advanced therapy services recent divestments from Lonza and Catalent do not indicate the abandonment of small molecules capabilities. For two of the largest contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs), the new year really did follow the old adage ‘out with the old…’ Catalent began 2021 by agreeing to sell its Blow-Fill-Seal (BFS) sterile contract development and manufacturing business, based at a single site in Woodstock, Illinois, to SK Capital Partners. The CDMO said…

Ajinomoto: Deal for Humanigen’s COVID MAb will save time and money

Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services says an expanded fill/finish contract for Humanigen’s COVID-19 antibody candidate lenzilumab will provide cost and time savings. This week the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) said it “will assume a key role in simplifying the supply chain efforts for Humanigen by providing drug product aseptic fill finish services at its San Diego facility to support continued clinical trial efforts through potential commercialization.” Ajinomoto spokeswoman Stephanie Harrison told us, “We will provide streamlined and quality fill finish…

Astrea licenses Avacta’s Affimer reagent technology

Gamma Biosciences’ bioseparation business Astrea will use the Affimer technology to expand its range of ligand discovery and development capabilities. Avacta Group’s Affimer reagents are small proteins that have a binding surface that can be tailored to capture a target molecule of interest out of complex mixtures encountered in biomanufacturing. “The Affimer reagent technology was originally developed at the MRC Cancer Unit in Cambridge UK for proteomics applications and was acquired by Avacta in 2012,” Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta…

MA center aims to speed up manufacturing for researchers, says Cytiva

A $76 million innovation and manufacturing center will alleviate production backlogs of up to 18 months, says founding member Cytiva. The Massachusetts Center for Advanced Biological Innovation and Manufacturing (CABIM) will partner with industry and academia to reduce backlogs which impact critical research and development. The $76 million in financing was led by Harvard University and supported by other founding members: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Cytiva (formerly known as GE Healthcare…