Abzena has acquired contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) PacificGMP for $8.4 million, the companies said today, in a deal that gives the buyer a U.S. base of operations while expanding its offerings into the growing contract biopharmaceutical manufacturing market.
Founded in 2005, privately held PacificGMP provides contract process development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, vaccines, and gene therapy and cell therapy products, for an international customer base that the companies said is growing.
A pioneer in the adoption of single-use manufacturing technology, which is increasingly used for manufacturing biopharmaceuticals, PacificGMP offers services that include process and analytical development, non-GMP and cGMP manufacturing, and regulatory support.
Abzena said the acquisition—reflecting a strategy of expanding its offerings—will provide the opportunity to take clients’ projects further along the development pathway, thus capturing more value. Abzena also said it will be able to provide additional support for products based on its Composite Human Antibody™ protein engineering and ThioBridge™ ADC bioconjugation technologies, therefore driving further adoption of the technologies.
The deal also provides an opportunity to offer PacificGMP’s manufacturing services for later-stage clinical programs and niche commercial-scale manufacturing through expansion of its San Diego facility, where 37 employees are based.
The companies said PacificGMP has executed a new lease agreement to grow the San Diego facility from 14,000 to 23,400 square feet, in order to provide a total of five manufacturing clean room suites, as well as additional analytical and process development laboratories.
By expanding into a top-tier region—San Diego is ranked #4 among GEN’s Top 10 U.S. Biopharma Clusters—Abzena reasons it can better access biopharmas and academic institutions on the West Coast, as well as build and support its international business by developing stronger links with its customers in the Asia-Pacific region as well as North America.
Abzena will acquire PacificGMP for $7.7 million cash and $0.7 million in warrants on 564,762 Abzena shares, based on the average price of Abzena shares over the 60 trading days before closing. Of the cash portion, $1.8 million was used to settle shareholder loans and contingent liabilities. The warrants represent 0.58% of Abzena’s current issued share capital, and are exercisable for up to three years from issue at an exercise price of £0.80 ($1.23) per share.
Upon completion of the acquisition, PacificGMP will operate as an integrated member of the Abzena group of companies, which includes Antitope and PolyTherics. Antitope provides immunogenicity assessment, protein engineering to create humanized antibodies and deimmunized therapeutic proteins, and cell line development for manufacture. PolyTherics specializes in site-specific conjugation technologies for antibody drug conjugate development and solutions designed to optimize the therapeutic properties of biopharmaceuticals.
“Over the 10 years since founding PacificGMP, we have been fortunate to work on a broad array of exciting and complex projects with some of the leading physicians and researchers in the biotechnology arena,” Gary Pierce, president of PacificGMP, said in a statement. “We’ve been able to bring our expertise in development and manufacturing to challenging large molecules and to support efforts against many life-threatening and debilitating diseases. We believe that joining Abzena will allow us to build on that capability, helping our partners to reach larger and more diverse populations and enable the development of new therapies, cures and vaccines.”
Pierce was previously CEO and general counsel of PacificGMP. Leigh Pierce, formerly PacificGMP’s president and CSO, has been named CTO (biomanufacturing). Both report directly to Abzena CEO John Burt.
Burt, Abzena CFO Julian Smith, and Jim Mills, Abzena vp-technical operations, have been appointed as directors of PacificGMP alongside Leigh Pierce and Gary Pierce. The nonexecutive directors of PacificGMP have resigned from the board. The deal will not change Abzena’s board of directors.
Abzena said the acquisition is expected to immediately enhance its earnings, before amortization of acquired intangible assets. In the 12 months ending in July, PacificGMP generated $3 million in revenues.