KBI Biopharma, a biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization, will be acquired by a trio of buyers that include JSR Group, CMIC Holdings, and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ).

JSR will own the majority interest in KBI as a result of the acquisition, whose price was not disclosed.

Founded in 1996, KBI has helped advance drug development programs for more than 200 biopharma and academic/non-profit organization clients worldwide—“including most of the top ten pharmaceutical companies,” the company states on its website—through its facilities in Durham, NC, Research Triangle Park, NC, and Boulder, CO.

KBI says its capabilities include delivering expert and integrated process development and cGMP manufacturing of recombinant protein active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). Among clients offering testimonials on KBI’s website are Auxillium Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Endo International for $2.6 billion in a deal completed January 29), DynPort Vaccine (a CSC company), Elusys Therapeutics, Trans Tech Pharma, and UCB Celltech.

KBI expanded to Boulder last year, when it bought the microbial process development and manufacturing operations of Merck & Co. for an undisclosed price. As part of that acquisition, KBI agreed to provide ongoing development and manufacturing services to Merck, as well as to third-party customers.

JSR—which co-announced the deal with KBI—said the purchase will expand its bioprocess capabilities while giving it a strong, successful partner, resulting in acceleration of the buyer’s growth plans. Those plans, JSR said, include increased capacity as well as global expansion, including additional customers in Japan and Asia.

JSR said the deal also reflects its focus on life sciences as well as lithium ion capacitors as strategic businesses for sustainable growth.

“This event is best described as the beginning of a partnership that will enable each company to continue to provide innovation for the bioprocessing development and manufacturing space,” JSR President Mitsunobu Koshiba said in a statement.

Added KBI President and CEO Joe McMahon: “Through this exciting new partnership, we will leverage the combination of KBI’s core competencies, along with the material science leadership, global presence and financial strength of our new partners.”

In addition to acquiring KBI, JSR, and CMIC have agreed to develop and design manufacturing processes and process materials for next-generation antibody pharmaceuticals. INCJ has agreed to support that and other KBI development efforts through its industry-academia-government network in Japan.

JSR uses its own polymer technology to provide synthetic rubbers, emulsions and synthetic resins, semiconductor materials, and display materials. CMIC—which said it started the contract research organization business in 1992—offers support services for developers of pharmaceuticals products, from R&D to sales and marketing.

INCJ is a public-private partnership established in 2009 to provide financial, technological and management support for next-generation businesses. INCJ says it supports projects that combine technologies and varied expertise across industries and materialize open innovation, using its capacity to invest up to ¥2 trillion (about $20 billion).

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