Ajinomoto agrees to acquire Althea Technologies for about $175 million

Acquiring company aims to strengthen its business foundation and expand in the rapidly growing advanced biomedical field, with a goal of achieving annual revenues of $312.4 million by 2020

Jeffrey Bouley
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TOKYO—Ajinomoto Co. Inc. recently announced that ithas executed a merger agreement to acquire all of the capital stock of SanDiego-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) AltheaTechnologies Inc. for approximately $175 million.
As the acquiring company puts it, "Through thisacquisition of Althea Technologies with its talented management and dedicatedemployees, Ajinomoto Co. aims to strengthen its business foundation and expandin the rapidly growing advanced biomedical field." Furthermore, Ajinomoto notesthat 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 pharmacologicalefficacies and minimal side effects, Ajinomoto notes, adding that the globalmarket size for biopharmaceutical CDMO is estimated at $2.3 billion, withdouble digit-growth expected.
Althea, founded in 1998, is a fully integrated contractdevelopment and manufacturing organization providing fill and finish, biologicsmanufacturing, analytical development, and stability testing services forbiopharmaceutical companies. Ajinomoto considers itself a market leader inamino acids for some 100 years, having developed unique biotech capabilitiesand recently promoting its own contract process development business forbiopharmaceuticals, Corynex, which involves corynebacterium glutamicum toimprove efficiency of manufacturing process for such biopharmaceuticals asproteins and antibodies.
Ajinomoto aims to expand the business for biopharmaceuticaldevelopment and manufacturing not just in Japan and the rest of Asia but also inthe markets of North America, and hopes to facilitate this by combining itsunique biotechnology with Althea's sophisticated technology, experiencedpersonnel and expertise in cGMP manufacturing and development.
In connection with the transaction, Ajinomoto reportedly hascommitted to "continuing to provide the highest quality services to Althea'scustomers."
"We are thrilled that the company we founded 15 years agowill have the opportunity to accelerate its growth under the leadership of ahighly successful global company, such as Ajinomoto," said Dr. Magda Marquetand Dr. François Ferré, founders of Althea Technologies, in their news releaseabout the deal. "We are very pleased with the depth of Ajinomoto's commitmentto our brand, our strong culture and the development of our employees."
"This is a great day for Althea, our employees, ourcustomers and investors," added Rick Hancock, president and CEO of AltheaTechnologies. "During the past several months, I have had the opportunity toget to know members of the Ajinomoto team and I am convinced that thecombination of our two companies will yield outstanding synergistic benefits.Both companies are dedicated to the highest levels of quality and customercare."
Closing is expected to occur in April 2013, at which pointAlthea would become a fully consolidated subsidiary of Ajinomoto Co. Thetransaction is not expected to affect Ajinomoto's financial performance infiscal year 2012.
"In combining Ajinomoto's experience in biotechnology,together with Althea's sophisticated technology, experienced personnel, andexpertise in cGMP manufacturing, we aspire to expand our business forbiopharmaceuticals manufacturing  in theU.S. market and  strengthen our advanced  biomedical businesses," said Masatoshi Ito, presidentand CEO of Ajinomoto.

Jeffrey Bouley

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