Deal excludes Avecia’s U.S.-based oligomedicines operations.

Merck is to acquire Avecia’s contract manufacturing biologics business, Avecia Biologics. The transaction, which is still subject to regulatory clearance, does not include Avecia’s U.S.-based oligomedicines business. Financial details have not yet been disclosed.

If ratified, the deal will be effected through Merck’s affiliate, Merck Sharp & Dohme. Merck will acquire all of the assets of Avecia Biologics, including its process development and scale-up, manufacturing, quality, and business support operations in the U.K. The company said it plans to honor all Avecia Biologics’ contractual obligations and will talk with its customers to determine ongoing and future biological process development and manufacturing requirements after the deal has been completed.

“This transaction follows an initial strategic development and supply relationship with Avecia Biologics and will provide us with an operational facility staffed by an experienced workforce that is highly skilled in a broad portfolio of bioprocess systems,” comments John T. McCubbins, senior vp of Merck’s manufacturing division’s biologics and therapeutic protein operations. 

Avecia Biologics offers process development and manufacturing services from preclinical to commercial scale. The company’s technologies include the pAVEway™ platform for the production of therapeutic proteins. pAVEway is based on a set of  protein expression plasmids, which the company claims can be customized to generate soluble, secreted, and insoluble expression.

In March 2008 Avecia Biologics sold its biodefense vaccines business to PharmAthene for $40 million.

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