CJ Cheiljedang set to acquire Batavia Biosciences for $226m

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Simon Carter Peter Crowther
© GettyImages/Simon Carter Peter Crowther

Related tags: CJ Group, Viral vector, mammalian cell line, Vaccine

CJ Cheiljedang, a subsidiary of South Korea's food and entertainment giant, CJ Group, is about to enter the biopharma CDMO business.

A leading producer of lysine for animal feed, CJ Cheiljedang said its board backed the proposed acquisition of a 75.8% stake in Netherlands-based Batavia Biosciences for 267.7bn won ($226m or €195.3m), according to Korean media coverage​, citing a regulatory filing by the firm.

CJ Cheiljedang said it will purchase 50,807 shares in Batavia including 13,007 new shares, at €3,844 euros per share. 

A spokesperson for the Dutch company told BioPharma-Reporter: "CJ CheilJedang’s investment allows Batavia Biosciences to accelerate its growth ambition to become one of the largest global biopharmaceutical CDMOs."

The transaction is subject to the customary approval by regulatory authorities in both countries.

The CJ Group would seem to be turning its attention back to the pharmaceutical sector, having divested its CJ Healthcare division to Kolmar Korea in 2018; it now appears to be keen to expand into the biopharmaceutical domain. In July, CJ Cheiljedang acquired ChunLab, a bioinformatics company specializing in microbiome research and development.

Viral vector, antibody work

Batavia Biosciences, established by Janssen Pharmaceuticals researchers in 2010, is a biopharmaceutical contract development and management organization (CDMO), working on viral vaccine, viral vector, protein and antibody projects.

It is focused on early stages of product development including mammalian cell line and microbial strain generation, upstream process development, purification development, medium optimization, product characterization and clinical manufacturing. Headquartered in Leiden, The Netherlands, it also has a US-based facility in Woburn, Massachusetts, and offices in Hong Kong.

COVID-19 vaccine support

In July, Batavia announced a deal with RocketVax, a subsidiary of Swiss Rockets AG, to develop the clinical process and deliver clinical product of that company’s vaccine candidate against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

RocketVax is developing a promising second generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate, called RVX-13 which, instead of containing only one COVID-19 derived antigen, comprises all major immunogenic features of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The technology aims at delivering a more efficacious vaccine and protect against all known variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

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