The deal –terms of which were not disclosed – will see Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies buy a 49% stake in Kalon.
The agreement also grants the Fujifilm subsidiary rights to buy the Texan contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) outright, based on the achievement of certain milestones.
Kalon was founded in 2011 by the Texas A&M University System, TAMUS, as one of three centres tasked with developing medical countermeasures by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
In addition to working with BARDA, Kalon recently announced plans to build two influenza vaccine manufacturing facilities in a $91m deal with GSK. At thew time the firm explained that the sites will be kitted out primarily with single-use equipment including Sartorius or GE Xcellerex bioreactors with bags.
Kalon employs a staff of 100 people but, prior to the Fujifilm deal, told us it had plans to expand its workforce to 300 people by 2020.
Speaking to Biopharma-Reporter.com at BIO Kalon CEO Andrew Strong told us the CMO employs staffers from both drugmakers and contractors - Lonza, Sanofi Pasteur, Baxter, Novartis – adding that the firm seeks staff with “heavy vaccine and virology experience.”
Kalon’s offering also differs from others in the space according to Strong, who told us that most CMOs use mammalian cell culture with microbial space for therapeutics, but “we’re also doing gene therapy manufacturing for MD Anderson through a plasmid DNA project."
He also noted that Kalon “would like to get more commercial business, as we do not want to be a sole government manufacturer.” The company is looking to focus on cancer and viral-based manufacturing projects, including microbial and insect cell projects.
Fujifilm was unable to comment on the deal ahead of publication.