US contract research and manufacturing services firm, Viropro, has signed a $21m (€15.3m) deal for the acquisition of Malaysia-based Alpha Biologics.
Under the all-share deal, Viropro acquires Alpha's state-of-the-art 5,000sq metre advanced good manufacturing practice (GMP) mammalian cell production facility located at its headquarters at the Penang Science Park, Malaysia.
Viropro also gains access to Alpha's new Cambridge, UK process development lab. Completed in November 2010 and designed to compliment its Penang counterpart, the lab produces supplies of mammalian cell proteins, such as monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins.
Both the Cambridge and Penang sites were recently the subject of multi-million dollar upgrades designed to ease the path of clinical trials and the commercialisation process for Alpha's international clients.
Rajiv Datar, president and CEO of Viropro, said: “With this acquisition, Viropro has taken the first step towards creating a global biotech contract research services business, and towards achieving our goal of offering an integrated contract development and GMP manufacturing services platform to our clients in the biopharmaceutical industry.”
Viropro said it expects Alpha Biologics' UK plant to receive certification this year under the Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation Scheme (PICs), which harmonises GMP guidelines in 39 member countries and agencies, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company hopes European Medicines Agency (EMEA) accreditation will follow shortly afterwards.
Datar revealed that Viropro intends to make further acquisitions as it seeks new partnerships for its biosimilar cell lines and manufacturing processes. The company already enjoys a strong position in pharmerging markets such as South America, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Commenting on the deal, Kim Tan, chairman of Alpha Biologics, said:“This transaction allows us to participate in the entire biotech contract development and manufacturing services offering,and thus provides increased leverage to our Penang facility.
“We look forward to working closely with Viropro and its other subsidiaries towards the realisation of a common mission,” said Tan, “ which is to make biotech drugs for clients, efficiently and economically.”