Lon­za of­floads spe­cial­ty in­gre­di­ents unit in $4.7B sale to Bain Cap­i­tal, Cin­ven in con­sol­i­da­tion around bio­phar­ma

With the bio­phar­ma CD­MO mar­ket on a years­long up­swing, gi­ant Lon­za has looked to re­work the game plan to keep its gold­en goose pro­duc­tive. Af­ter tin­ker­ing with its cap­sule of­fer­ings, the Swiss man­u­fac­tur­er will now of­fload an in­gre­di­ents unit that was once one of its busi­ness pil­lars.

Lon­za will sell its spe­cial­ty in­gre­di­ents busi­ness to Bain Cap­i­tal and UK pri­vate eq­ui­ty firm Cin­ven for $4.67 bil­lion as the con­tract man­u­fac­tur­er con­tin­ues to con­sol­i­date its busi­ness around bio­phar­ma work and cap­sules, the com­pa­ny said Mon­day.

Bain and Cin­ven will take over Lon­za’s 17 in­gre­di­ents sites around the world com­pris­ing 2,800 work­ers, Lon­za said. The unit busi­ness pro­duces mi­cro­bial con­trol so­lu­tions for hy­giene and per­son­al care prod­ucts as well as spe­cial­ty chem­i­cals and com­pos­ites for the elec­tron­ics, aero­space, food and agro­chem­i­cal in­dus­tries.

The sale is ex­pect­ed to close in the sec­ond half, and Lon­za said in a state­ment it was hap­py to work with Bain and Cin­ven giv­en their “strong ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­tri­als sec­tor and an es­tab­lished track record of suc­cess­ful in­vest­ments in port­fo­lio com­pa­nies.”

Of­fload­ing one of two pil­lars of its cen­tral busi­ness comes amid Lon­za’s grow­ing of­fer­ings in the CD­MO space for bio­phar­ma and fol­lows a re­work­ing of the firm’s cap­sule busi­ness.

In Jan­u­ary, Lon­za of­floaded two lipid cap­sule pro­duc­tion sites in Ploërmel, France, and Ed­in­burgh, UK, as part of a plan to ex­it the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal cap­sules space while main­tain­ing its mar­ket foothold in con­sumer health and nu­tri­tion. Lon­za said it would cease pro­duc­tion of soft­gels and liq­uid-filled hard cap­sules in the phar­ma mar­ket al­to­geth­er with the sales — with the ex­cep­tion of hold­ing on to ca­pac­i­ty for fea­si­bil­i­ty stud­ies.

The com­pa­ny plans to con­tin­ue churn­ing out Li­caps-based prod­ucts, or lipid cap­sules, out of fa­cil­i­ties in Col­mar, France; Green­wood, South Car­oli­na; and Sagami­hara, Japan, ex­clu­sive­ly for con­sumer health and nu­tri­tion.

How­ev­er, cap­sules in con­sumer health and nu­tri­tion are very much still in the pic­ture. Lon­za re­cent­ly in­vest­ed $95.8 mil­lion to ex­pand its cap­sule pro­duc­tion ca­pac­i­ty by 30 bil­lion an­nu­al­ly across eight of its sites.

But ul­ti­mate­ly, CD­MO work will be­come an even greater fo­cal point for Lon­za’s growth plan as Covid-19 out­sourc­ing projects, in par­tic­u­lar, keep dri­ving new rev­enue streams. In De­cem­ber, Lon­za tout­ed its plan to in­crease pro­duc­tion ca­pac­i­ty by 30% by the first half of 2022, fo­cus­ing on bio­con­ju­ga­tion — a process that can de­vel­op more com­plex pro­tein ther­a­peu­tics.

It will add a rough­ly 16,100-square-foot ex­pan­sion to its fa­cil­i­ty in Visp, Switzer­land, for both clin­i­cal and com­mer­cial sup­ply, and will build a 53,800-square-foot sup­port build­ing to in­crease stor­age and oth­er sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture. The CD­MO al­so has a co-man­u­fac­tur­ing deal on the ta­ble with Mod­er­na for its mR­NA-based Covid-19 shot, one of two vac­cines ap­proved for emer­gency use in the US.

Tar­get­ing a Po­ten­tial Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Cer­tain Can­cers with DNA Dam­age Re­sponse

Every individual’s DNA is unique, and because of this, every patient responds differently to disease and treatment. It is astonishing how four tiny building blocks of our DNA – A, T, C, G – dictate our health, disease, and how we age.

The tricky thing about DNA is that it is constantly exposed to damage by sources such as ultraviolet light, certain chemicals, toxins, and even natural biochemical processes inside our cells.¹ If ignored, DNA damage will accumulate in replicating cells, giving rise to mutations that can lead to premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.

Fol­low biotechs go­ing pub­lic with the End­points News IPO Track­er

The Endpoints News team is continuing to track IPO filings for 2021, and we’ve designed a new tracker page for the effort.

Check it out here: Biopharma IPOs 2021 from Endpoints News

You’ll be able to find all the biotechs that have filed and priced so far this year, sortable by quarter and listed by newest first. As of the time of publishing on Feb. 25, there have already been 16 biotechs debuting on Nasdaq so far this year, with an additional four having filed their S-1 paperwork.

Steve Cutler, Icon CEO (Icon)

In the biggest CRO takeover in years, Icon doles out $12B for PRA Health Sci­ences to fo­cus on de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal work

Contract research M&A had a healthy run in recent years before recently petering out. But with the market ripe for a big buyout and the Covid-19 pandemic emphasizing the importance of decentralized trials, Wednesday saw a tectonic shift in the CRO world.

Icon, the Dublin-based CRO, will acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion in a move that will shake up the highest rungs of a fragmented market. The merger would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue, according to Icon, and the merger will set the newco up to be the second-largest global CRO behind only IQVIA.

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Tom Barnes (Orna)

The mR­NA era is here. MPM be­lieves the fu­ture be­longs to oR­NA — and Big Phar­ma wants a seat at the ta­ble

If the ultra-fast clinical development of Covid-19 vaccines opened the world’s eyes to the promises of messenger RNA, the subsequent delays in supply offered a crash course on the ultra-complex process of producing them. Even before the formulation and fill-finish steps, mRNA is the precious end product from an arduous journey involving enzyme-aided transcription, modification and purification.

For Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Gilead’s Kite and Astellas, it’s time to rethink the way therapeutic RNA is engineered.

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Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, via still image from video)

CMO Tal Zaks bids Mod­er­na a sur­prise adieu as biotech projects $18.4B in rev­enue, plots post-Covid ex­pan­sion

How do you exit a company after six years in style? Developing one of the most lucrative and life-saving products in pharma history is probably not the worst way to go.

Tal Zaks, Moderna’s CMO since 2015, will leave the mRNA biotech in September, the biotech disclosed in their annual report this morning. The company has already retained the recruitment firm Russell Reynolds to find a replacement.

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Avid Bioser­vices, with re­cent IPO and Covid-19 part­ner­ship in hand, launch­es 2nd phase of fa­cil­i­ty ex­pan­sion

California’s Avid Bioservices now has two simultaneous expansion projects underway as the CDMO’s projections for customer demand sparked the launch this week of the second phase of building out its Myford facility.

Avid expects construction on the second phase, which will be known as its Myford South facility to take 18 to 24 months to complete at a cost of roughly $45 million to $55 million, it said in a press release.

Joe Biden (Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Biden wants a re­view of the API sup­ply chain. Will that par­lay in­to an ef­fort to 'on­shore' drug man­u­fac­tur­ing?

When former President Donald J. Trump was voted out of office Nov. 2, his gung-ho effort to “onshore” drug manufacturing was left mostly up in the air. Joe Biden has been mostly mum on whether he would continue that effort, but a new executive order could provide a clue — at least in a few months.

In an order signed Wednesday, Biden demanded a 100-day governmental review of key supply chains, including for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used in American drugs.

S&P ex­pects steady ero­sion in Big Phar­ma's cred­it pro­file in 2021 as new M&A deals roll in — but don't un­der­es­ti­mate their un­der­ly­ing strength

S&P Global has taken a look at the dominant forces shaping the pharma market and come to the conclusion that there will be more downgrades than upgrades in 2021 — the 8th straight year of steady decline.

But it’s not all bad news. Some things are looking up, and there’s still plenty of money to be made in an industry that enjoys a 30% to 40% profit margin, once you factor in steep R&D expenses.

Dutch biotech In­travacc seeks to bol­ster Nether­lands vac­cine man­u­fac­tur­ing abil­i­ties with new plants

The pandemic has given a huge edge to any country that can produce vaccine in its borders. Now one vaccine biotech is looking to make sure their country has that edge for any future pandemic.

Arguing Covid-19 exposed the Netherlands’ “vulnerability,” Dutch vaccines company Intravacc recently announced that its new “modern pilot production plant” will soon be functional and that it’s spearheading a conglomerate designing a multipurpose vaccine production plant.