The acquisition will give Cell Biosciences’ the scope to expand its portfolio of protein analysis products as well as potentially transforming the California, US-based life sciences firm into a leader of capillary-based protein analysis technology.
“We’re hoping to build global leadership status in protein analysis tools,” said Walter Ausserer of Cell Biosciences. “The acquisition of Convergent brings the new project into a new market, and we’re looking to increase our business and gain access into this important new market,” he told Outsourcing-Pharma.
Explaining that Convergent, which is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, will provide Cell Biosciences access to a high-growth segment of the protein therapeutics market, he said the company will operate on a semi-autonomous level, and eventually Cell Biosciences’ investment will contribute towards the development of a “next generation Convergent product.”
The product will most likely be related to antibody therapeutics, an area Cell Biosciences specialises in, and one that Ausserer said comprises “50 per cent of the therapeutic areas the company covers.” He anticipates the new product will reach the market within the next year, and added, “We’re intending to maintain all current Convergent employees to work on product development.”
Growth in protein-based drug market
“There has been a large growth of protein-based drugs on the market,” said Ausserer, who attributes the recent surge in demand to the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) request for biotech companies to provide more data characterising protein technology, along with the application of stricter regulations. “The characterisation of protein technology for quality control has seen a lot of growth,” he said.
On the acquisition, Tim Harkness, president and CEO of Cell Biosciences, commented, “The strategic fit between Cell Biosciences and Convergent Biosciences is nearly perfect. Our NanoPro systems and the Convergent iCE280 are based upon similar technologies.”
Both firms use capillary-based separation, and Ausserer agreed that “[the firm’s] technology is very similar.” Though Cell Biosciences and Convergent have “very different client bases,” he believes “it makes sense to have two alternative client bases to bring together a united family.”
Future plans for Cell Biosciences include bringing new products to international markets, and to achieve that goal, the firm is currently raising $20m (€14.4m) in a Series F Preferred Stock financing led by Essex Woodlands Health Ventures.
Speaking about the $20m raised, Ausserer said, “Most of it is going on our purchase of Convergent which is costing $12m. The rest will be spent on expanding our operations related to the deal.”