Pharmaron takes UK biologics plant off AbbVie's hands

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/alphaspirit
© GettyImages/alphaspirit

Related tags: Biologics, cell and gene therapy

China's Pharmaron has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Allergan Biologics Limited (ABL) site in Liverpool, UK, for US$118.7m in cash from AbbVie.

The deal means the Hong Kong-listed, Pharmaron, can add commercial manufacturing to its integrated cell and gene therapy platform, which also offers pre-clinical research and product development.

The ABL site, which has not been long in the hands of AbbVie, has held MHRA biologic manufacturing license accreditation since 2007. It consists of a state-of-the-art, flexible cGMP biomanufacturing facility, with over 150 staff and advanced analytical capabilities in broad range of biologics products.

Additionally, the production facility uses a suspension cell culture system that is said to enable scale up for commercial manufacturing more easily than adherent cell cultures.

Dr Boliang Lou, CEO of Pharmaron, said the CGT focused process R&D and complex biologic manufacturing capabilities of the ABL site are impressive, also noting the abilities that “the highly experienced​” scientific, technical, and managerial teams have demonstrated.

“The addition of this platform to Pharmaron will further strengthen our CGT services platform and allow us to better serve our partners’ needs in these exciting and emerging therapies,” ​added the CEO.

The Chinese company is also planning to further expand capabilities and capacities at the Liverpool site to meet “growing unmet demand.”

On the asset trail 

The transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, is “highly synergistic”​ to Pharmaron’s recent acquisition of Absorption Systems in the US, which it acquired for US$137.5m in cash last November, with it obtaining facilities and labs in Philadelphia, San Diego and Boston in the process.

It also gains Absorption Systems' cell and gene therapy R&D and testing expertise. 

Along with that move, in July last year, Pharmaron acquired the majority ownership in LinkStart, a third-party clinical site management services organization (SMO) headquartered in Beijing, China.

Pharmaron has three other sites in the UK, in Cardiff, Hoddesdon, and Rushden, as well as sites across China and the US. 

Related topics: Markets & Regulations

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