LGC announced it has acquired Axolabs, a contract research, development, and manufacturing organization (CDMO) focused on developing therapeutic nucleic acids (TNAs), for an undisclosed price.
LGC also said it is carrying out a “major investment,” also undisclosed, at its Biosearch subsidiary in Petaluma, CA. The investment will expand the company’s GMP oligonucleotide manufacturing capacity in order to provide TNA synthesis to the 1kg scale in support of early-stage clinical trials.
LGC said the acquisition and investment will position the company as a global provider of TNA solutions, as well as strengthen its existing analytical and bioanalytical drug development service offering, as customers will be able to access integrated analytical and manufacturing solutions from lead discovery through clinical phases and beyond.
Based in Kulmbach, Germany, Axolabs specializes in discovery and preclinical phases of drug development in the field of oligonucleotide therapeutic and other nucleic acid medicines. The company was founded in 2000 as Ribopharma, a spin-out from the University of Bayreuth, as the world’s first RNAi therapeutics company. It later became part of Alnylam, then Roche, before Axolabs’ management bought out the company’s assets from the Pharma giant in 2011.
Axolabs employs 60 people and delivers integrated research solutions for TNAs, covering in silico design, synthesis, analytics, bioanalytics, biology, pharmacology, and consulting services. The company’s expertise spans TNA modalities that include antisense oligos, siRNAs, immunostimulatory oligos, aptamers, miRNAs and miRNA mimics, synthetic mRNAs, and guide RNAs for CRISPR applications.
“Axolabs’ in-depth know-how in the TNA drug-development field complements LGC’s capabilities in GMP oligo manufacture, CMC analytical, and bioanalytical services, and we look forward to working together with the Axolabs team and its customers,” David Griffiths, Ph.D., managing director of LGC’s LMS division, said in a statement.
Axolabs’ management team will remain with the business following the transaction.
Added Hans-Peter Vornlocher, Ph.D., Axolabs’ managing director, research: “This transition of ownership allows us to continue to invest in our team and facilities at Kulmbach. Combining Axolabs’ preclinical expertise and LGC’s GMP manufacturing capabilities allows us to support our clients further along the drug development pathway.
“Moreover, the access to LGC’s leading science and international reach enables us offer a broader set of solutions for our customers,” Dr. Vornlocher stated.
London-based LGC employs more than 2,600 people, and operates from 22 countries worldwide.