Merck to buy Avecia Biologics

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WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck & Co. has agreed to acquire Avecia Biologics, a contract manufacturing organization specializing in microbial-derived biologics.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Under the agreement, made with Avecia Investments Ltd., Merck will acquire Avecia Biologics and all of its assets, including its process development and scale-up, manufacturing, quality and business support operations located in Billingham, United Kingdom.

Merck said that besides honoring all Avecia Biologics contractual commitments, it plans to engage in discussions with customers about their biological process development and manufacturing needs after the transaction is closed.

"At Merck, we continue to execute on our strategy of expanding our biopharmaceutical expertise and manufacturing capacity," commented John McCubbins, senior vice president of biologics and therapeutic protein operations for the Merck Manufacturing Division. "This transaction follows an initial strategic development and supply relationship with Avecia Biologics and will provide us with an operational facility staffed by an experienced workforce that is highly skilled in a broad portfolio of bioprocess systems."

The oligomedicines business of the Avecia group based in the United States isn’t included in the transaction, according to the companies.

""This acquisition … now provides the exciting opportunity to focus on advancing Merck’s broad early and mid-stage portfolio of biologic candidates," Avecia Biologics president Steve Bagshaw said in a statement.

In other news, Merck said Wednesday that it has named Dr. Michael Rosenblatt as executive vice president and chief medical officer, effective immediately. He comes to the pharmaceutical giant from Tufts University, where he was dean of the Tufts University School of Medicine.

Rosenblatt reports to Merck chairman and chief executive Richard Clark and will serve on the company’s executive committee and lead the firm’s Global Center for Scientific Affairs.


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