Abzena acquires PacificGMP of San Diego

Allows Abzena to expand into the biopharmaceutical manufacturing arena and establish an operation in the US

Abzena, a UK life sciences company located in Cambridge, has acquired PacificGMP, a privately held contract biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing company (CDMO) based in San Diego, CA, US, for US$7.7m (£4.98m) in cash.

An incentive scheme will see PacificGMP’s management receive up to 5.12 million Abzena ordinary shares (5.3% of the current issued share capital) over the next two years, depending on performance.

Abzena said the deal would enable it to expand its services and provide broader support for its partners’ development projects, while enabling cross-selling of its services and technologies. It also provides an operational base in the US to build the company's international business.

PacificGMP, which employs 37 people, 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.

In the 12 months to July 2015 the company generated revenues of $3m.

PacificGMP has signed a new lease agreement to expand its facility in San Diego from 14,000 to 23,400ft2 to provide a total of five manufacturing cleanroom suites, as well as additional analytical and process development laboratories.

The company was founded in 2005 and is a pioneer in single-use manufacturing technology, which is increasingly being used to manufacture biopharmaceuticals. Its service offering includes process and analytical development, non-GMP and cGMP manufacturing, and regulatory support.

The transaction increases Abzena’s penetration beyond its existing manufacturing cell line development offering into the contract biopharmaceutical manufacturing market, which is forecast to reach $3.1bn in 2016.

PacificGMP provides us with an ideal opportunity to expand our service offering into high growth biopharmaceutical manufacturing

On completion, PacificGMP will operate as an integrated member of the Abzena group of companies, which includes Antitope and PolyTherics. Gary Pierce, CEO and General Counsel of PacificGMP, has become President, PacificGMP and Leigh Pierce, PacificGMP’s President and CSO, has become Chief Technology Officer (Biomanufacturing), both reporting to Abzena's CEO John Burt.

Gary Pierce, President of PacificGMP, said: '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. 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.'

John Burt, CEO of Abzena, added: 'PacificGMP provides us with an ideal opportunity to expand our service offering into the high growth biopharmaceutical manufacturing arena and to establish an operational footprint in the US.

'This acquisition allows us to capture more customer value, provides significant cross-selling opportunities, and is expected to enhance the pace of adoption of Abzena’s technologies.'

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