CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—November saw Abcam plc announce a definitive agreement under which it will acquire the entire issued share capital of AxioMx Inc. on a cash-free/debt-free basis for $20 million up front, with additional performance-based payments totaling $25 million. The latter payments will be made over the course of five years, dependent upon the successful completion of specified commercial and technical milestones. The transaction was expected to be completed by the end of November.
“Michael Weiner and I founded AxioMx with a vision to revolutionize proteomics by developing technologies to create recombinant antibodies in days,” Christopher McLeod, president and CEO of AxioMx, commented in a statement. “We have made great progress towards this goal, while also developing methods enabling us to generate antibodies against targets that can’t be addressed with traditional in-vivo technologies. We are excited that our team will be able to utilize their expertise in support of Abcam’s mission and to serve its extensive global customer base.”
AxioMx, which employs 28 individuals at its Branford, Conn., location, has created a powerful, scalable in-vitro recombinant monoclonal antibody technology and boasts antibody and binder development capabilities that enable the production of high-quality antibodies within weeks.
Alan Hirzel, CEO of Abcam, said: “The acquisition of AxioMx is in line with our strategy of acquiring businesses which enable Abcam to increase the supply of high-quality products generated from our own innovation, and allows us to respond more quickly to our customers’ needs. This acquisition enhances our ability to serve emerging life science needs and supports our mission to be the most influential and recommended company for life scientists worldwide. After an extensive review of alternate scaffold and other in-vitro technologies, we are confident that AxioMx has created unique, high-quality and economically attractive methods to serve customers in research, diagnostic and drug discovery labs globally. We look forward to working with AxioMx to scale up their production and enhance our product offering.”
According to Hirzel, Abcam and AxioMx were looking into a business partnership and did some initial work together this spring, which is what led to the acquisition.
“What we were looking for was the technology that would further strengthen us in the ability to make recombinant antibodies, and when we found AxioMx, what we found was a company that was very good at making recombinant antibodies and binders and also happened to do it very, very quickly, and that’s a combination that we couldn’t ignore,” says Hirzel. “One of the things that’s really interesting about AxioMx is the ability to make antibodies in five to 10 weeks.”
Another point is AxioMx’s favor, he adds, was the general benefits of an in-vitro system rather than an in-vivo system for making antibodies.
“There are a certain number of immunogens out there that just don’t generate an immune response, and using an in-vitro system gives it the potential to make antibodies to targets that are toxic or get an immune response, and that opens up new markets,” Hirzel tells DDNews. “And we’re quite interested in having that capability for our business.”
“We’re building up an immunoassay business pretty quickly,” Hirzel notes, “and here’s where AxioMx’s speed really helps; that gives us the advantage of being able to make antibody pairs used in immunoassays, both single-plex and multiplex, much more quickly, so it just gives us the advantage of building up that part of our business more rapidly.”
While AxioMx has historically been a custom service business, he says that initially its new focus moving forward will be on building projects for Abcam's catalogue, though custom services offerings might be revisited in the future. Abcam intends to retain AxioMx's team and facilities at the existing Connecticut location.