An April acquisition in TNAs

LGC snaps up Axolabs, boosts manufacturing capacity for therapeutic nucleic acids

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MIDDLESEX, U.K.—LGC recently announced that it has acquired Axolabs, a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization specializing in the development of therapeutic nucleic acids (TNAs). This is the latest acquisition by LGC, which has been busy in recent years bolstering its capacity as a leading solutions provider for TNAs, spanning lead discovery through to the clinic and beyond. Company leaders see the acquisition as another means to strengthen its existing analytical and bioanalytical drug development service offering, and expect customers will benefit from integrated analytical and manufacturing solutions.
Dr. David Griffiths, managing director of LGC’s Laboratory & Managed Services division, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Axolabs to LGC. With more than 16 years’ experience in the therapeutic nucleic acid market, Axolabs enjoys a strong reputation for scientific excellence, quality and reliability—attributes that match LGC’s. Axolabs’ in-depth know-how in the TNA drug development field complements LGC’s capabilities in GMP oligo manufacture, CMC analytical and bioanalytical services, and we look forward to working together with the Axolabs team and its customers.”
Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) refers to a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. It is designed to minimize the risks involved in any pharmaceutical production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product. 
The sequencing of the human genome and the elucidation of many molecular pathways that are important in disease have provided unprecedented opportunities for the development of new therapeutics. The types of molecules in development are increasingly varied and include antisense oligonucleotides and ribozymes. 
Oligonucleotides (oligos) are fundamental and highly versatile biomolecules that accelerate the discovery and application of genomic information in molecular research, in-vitro diagnostics, therapeutic and other applied sciences. They are the critical components for consequential investigations such as human and veterinary diagnostics, pathogen and microbe detection, environmental screening, epidemiological surveillance and agricultural selection.
Based in Kulmbach, Germany, Axolabs employs 60 people and delivers integrated research solutions for TNAs, covering in-silico design, synthesis, analytics, bioanalytics, biology, pharmacology and consulting services. Axolabs’ expertise spans a wide range of TNA modalities, including antisense oligos, siRNAs, immunostimulatory oligos, aptamers, microRNAs and microRNA mimics, synthetic mRNAs and guide RNAs for CRISPR applications. Axolabs’ management team will remain with the business following the transaction.
“It is clear that LGC shares our passion for delivering the highest-quality science and service for our customers,” commented Dr. Hans-Peter Vornlocher, managing director of research for Axolabs. “Combining Axolabs’ preclinical expertise and LGC’s GMP manufacturing capabilities allows us to support our clients further along the drug development pathway. Moreover, the access to LGC’s leading science and international reach enables us offer a broader set of solutions for our customers.”
In conjunction with the acquisition of Axolabs, LGC also announced a major investment at its Biosearch subsidiary in Petaluma, Calif., to expand its GMP oligonucleotide manufacturing capacity to provide TNA synthesis to the 1-kg scale in support of early-stage clinical trials. Acquired in 2015, Biosearch specializes in the genomics and life-sciences industries for the design, development and manufacture of custom oligos and associated reagents for the medical diagnostics, research and applied markets. Biosearch’s products enable the amplification, detection and quantification of DNA molecules. 
In addition, LGC acquired Prime Synthesis Inc. (PSI), a leading producer of controlled pore glass (CPG) supports for oligonucleotide synthesis. Complementing LGC’s existing genomics offering, PSI’s products are supplied to the pharma and biopharma, academic research, contract manufacturing, medical diagnostics and biochemical reagents markets.
The combination of the PSI business with the Biosearch capacity provides increased supply chain resiliency for LGC clients based on the manufacturing footprint in both the United States and Europe. It also provides a platform for scale up of CPG production, which aids those customers conducting late-stage clinical trials with oligo therapeutic candidates.

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