Acquisition boosts Charles River's viral vector, AAV and plasmid DNA production expertise

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/metamorworks
© GettyImages/metamorworks

Related tags plasmid DNA AAV platform Viral vectors

Charles River Laboratories International Inc is to acquire US based Vigene Biosciences, a cell and gene therapy (CGT) contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) providing viral vector-based gene delivery solutions for research and clinical applications.

The purchase price is expected to be US$292.5m in cash, said Charles River.

The deal, which is anticipated to close at the beginning of Q3 this year, also includes contingent additional payments of up to US$57.5m, based on future performance. It is subject to the customary regulatory requirements and closing conditions.

Vigene, said the CRO, is expected to generate annual revenue of US$30 to $35m in 2021 and to grow at least 25% annually over the next five years.

Viral vector, AAV and plasmid DNA production 

Along with its expertise in CGMP viral vector manufacturing and in adeno-associated virus (AAV) CGMP production, the most commonly used delivery solution for gene therapies and other major viral vectors, including lentivirus, Vigene also produces research grade and CGMP plasmid DNA.

Charles River said the acquisition will strengthen its CGT portfolio, and ensure its clients can seamlessly conduct analytical testing, process development, and manufacturing for advanced modalities with the same scientific partner, to drive greater efficiency and accelerate their speed to market for advanced drug modalities.

“In these emerging, high-growth, value-added segments, we intend to continue to differentiate ourselves by bringing our high-science, customizable approach to support the complex needs of cell and gene therapy developers and innovators worldwide. Our goal is to become our clients’ scientific partner of choice for advanced drug modalities from discovery and non-clinical development to CGMP manufacturing,”​ commented James C Foster, CEO of Charles River.

Vigene will be complementary to its existing, non-clinical development and manufacturing capabilities and provide clients access to a comprehensive CGT program, it added.

“With operations based in Rockville, Maryland, Vigene will geographically expand and be highly complementary to Charles River’s existing gene therapy CDMO capabilities in the UK and Sweden, which were acquired through the March 2021 acquisition of Cognate BioServices,​” said the CRO.

The global viral vectors and plasmid DNA manufacturing market size was valued at US$2.2bn in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.8% from 2021 to 2028, according to a recent market research report​.

BioPharma-Reporter recently spoke to Dr Katherine Vousden, science director, large molecules, Charles River, in relation to the benefits of Distrbuted Bio's platform ​for CGT development, another recent acquisition by the CRO. 

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