Gotta catch ‘em all!

Lonza acquires several companies in the first half of 2017

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BASEL, Switzerland—In early June, Lonza announced its completion of the acquisition of Capsugel—a leading company in advanced oral dosage delivery technologies with a leading position in hard capsules—from KKR for $5.5 billion in cash, including refinancing of existing Capsugel debt of approximately $2 billion. Lonza’s acquisition of New Jersey-based Capsugel is in line, the company says, with its stated strategy to accelerate growth and deliver value along the healthcare continuum by complementing its existing offerings and opening up new market opportunities in the pharma, consumer healthcare and nutrition industries.
Richard Ridinger, Lonza’s CEO, said, “Lonza and Capsugel have a highly synergistic customer base and market approach, complementary business models and closely aligned corporate cultures with a strong commitment to ethics and compliance. All of these aspects will facilitate a seamless integration.”
With the acquisition of Capsugel, Lonza adds a large breadth of technologies that it believes will expand the market reach of both companies’ contract development, manufacturing organization and products businesses. It also supports Lonza’s strategic ambition of getting closer to the patient and end-consumer. Capsugel’s business will continue to operate in its existing structure until the full integration has been completed.
This acquisition was financed partially through the net proceeds of the successful placement of five million new shares at 173 Swiss francs per share with total gross proceeds of 865 million Swiss francs, which was completed in February 2017, as well as the issuance of 16,548,612 fully paid registered shares, with gross proceeds in the amount of 2.26 billion Swiss francs, which was completed in May 2017. The balance of the acquisition price was financed through indebtedness. The acquisition of Capsugel is expected to be accretive to Lonza’s core earnings per share in the first full year post closing.
Capsugel isn’t the only recent Lonza conquest, though. In May, the company also acquired PharmaCell B.V., a cell and gene contract manufacturer in the Netherlands with employees in Maastricht and Geleen. PharmaCell was selected due to its core expertise in autologous cell and gene therapy manufacturing, which includes experience with two commercial Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products-licensed products.
Alexander Vos, CEO of PharmaCell, commented: “Over the last seven years, we have been able to contract many of the blue-chip cell therapy companies. I am proud of my team, which has been able to deliver high-quality GMP manufacturing services in this emerging and challenging field.”
PharmaCell, established in 2005 when cell manufacturing was still in its infancy, has since been the manufacturer of the only two European-approved commercial cell therapy products. PharmaCell has more than 6,000 square meters of GMP clean rooms, quality control and other support spaces. In 2016 PharmaCell had sales of €11 million.
“PharmaCell’s position in the market complements Lonza’s leadership position in the allogeneic cell manufacturing market,” said Andreas Weiler, head of emerging technologies at Lonza. “This acquisition broadens Lonza’s capabilities in Europe and positions Lonza as the only contract development and manufacturing organization to offer an international cell and gene therapy manufacturing network, spanning the United States, Europe and Asia.”
Lonza also acquired in May HansaBioMed Life Sciences OÜ (HBM-LS) of Tallinn, Estonia, a startup company dedicated to the research and development, manufacturing and distribution of products for the exosomes research market. As part of that deal, Lonza has also agreed to make a strategic investment into Exosomics Siena S.p.A., an Italian startup company developing exosome-based early-stage cancer screening and molecular diagnostic tests. According to Lonza, exosomes’ acknowledged role as effectors in tissue regeneration, immune response and inflammation shows their potential as the next generation of vaccine development, drug delivery and off-the-shelf, cell-free regenerative therapies.
Dr. Antonio Chiesi, managing director of HBM-LS and CEO of Exosomics, said, “The next step in the evolution of exosome technology into diagnostics and therapeutics is the development of larger-scale procedures for isolation, purification and characterization of specific types of exosomes. Cell-culture capabilities are a critical component of this next step. Lonza’s infrastructure and leadership role in bio-manufacturing, combined with our exosome knowledge, will accelerate the availability of these breakthrough modalities.”
As a new part of Lonza, HBM-LS will continue its product portfolio expansion of research products and support the development of cGMP-compliant exosome manufacturing processes. Lonza’s investment in Exosomics will help to support the continued research, development and pre-commercialization of non-invasive, exosome-based liquid biopsy cancer-screening tests. Dr. Behzad Mahdavi, vice president of strategic innovation and alliances for Lonza Pharma & Biotech, will be an active member of the Exosomics board of directors and will help the company with its strategic market positioning and growth.
“Exosomes represent a dynamically growing segment in life sciences with opportunities in research, diagnostics and therapeutic applications,” said Dr. Uwe Gottschalk, chief technology officer for Lonza. “Exosomes may play an important role in the promising field of liquid biopsies and could become the next generation of cell-free therapies in regenerative medicine. With our financial support, technical and commercial expertise, Lonza is well suited to leverage these opportunities through HBM-LS and Exosomics.”

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