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Ajinomoto agrees to acquire Althea Technologies for about $175 million
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


TOKYO—Ajinomoto Co. Inc. recently announced that it has executed a merger agreement to acquire all of the capital stock of San Diego-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Althea Technologies Inc. for approximately $175 million.  
As the acquiring company puts it, "Through this acquisition of Althea Technologies with its talented management and dedicated employees, Ajinomoto Co. aims to strengthen its business foundation and expand in the rapidly growing advanced biomedical field." Furthermore, Ajinomoto notes that its goal in this acquisition is also to achieve annual revenues of  some $312.4 million by 2020.  
Biopharmaceuticals, such as proteins, peptides, and nucleic acids, can address unmet medical needs with high pharmacological efficacies and minimal side effects, Ajinomoto notes, adding that the global market size for biopharmaceutical CDMO is estimated at $2.3 billion, with double digit-growth expected.  
Althea, founded in 1998, is a fully integrated contract development and manufacturing organization providing fill and finish, biologics manufacturing, analytical development, and stability testing services for biopharmaceutical companies. Ajinomoto considers itself a market leader in amino acids for some 100 years, having developed unique biotech capabilities and recently promoting its own contract process development business for biopharmaceuticals, Corynex, which involves corynebacterium glutamicum to improve efficiency of manufacturing process for such biopharmaceuticals as proteins and antibodies.  
Ajinomoto aims to expand the business for biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing not just in Japan and the rest of Asia but also in the markets of North America, and hopes to facilitate this by combining its unique biotechnology with Althea's sophisticated technology, experienced personnel and expertise in cGMP manufacturing and development.  
In connection with the transaction, Ajinomoto reportedly has committed to "continuing to provide the highest quality services to Althea's customers."  
"We are thrilled that the company we founded 15 years ago will have the opportunity to accelerate its growth under the leadership of a highly successful global company, such as Ajinomoto," said Dr. Magda Marquet and Dr. François Ferré, founders of Althea Technologies, in their news release about the deal. "We are very pleased with the depth of Ajinomoto's commitment to our brand, our strong culture and the development of our employees."  
"This is a great day for Althea, our employees, our customers and investors," added Rick Hancock, president and CEO of Althea Technologies. "During the past several months, I have had the opportunity to get to know members of the Ajinomoto team and I am convinced that the combination of our two companies will yield outstanding synergistic benefits. Both companies are dedicated to the highest levels of quality and customer care."  
Closing is expected to occur in April 2013, at which point Althea would become a fully consolidated subsidiary of Ajinomoto Co. The transaction is not expected to affect Ajinomoto's financial performance in fiscal year 2012.
"In combining Ajinomoto's experience in biotechnology, together with Althea's sophisticated technology, experienced personnel, and expertise in cGMP manufacturing, we aspire to expand our business for biopharmaceuticals manufacturing  in the U.S. market and  strengthen our advanced  biomedical businesses," said Masatoshi Ito, president and CEO of Ajinomoto.

Code: E03131302



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