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War, what is it good for? Emergent bids $222m for biodefense supplier Cangene

By Gareth MacDonald+

12-Dec-2013

US Government anthrax vaccine contractor Emergent BioSolutions has announced plans to buy Cangene in its second biodefense-focused deal in a year.

The deal will see Emergent pay $222m for Winnipeg, Canada-based Cangene  which, in addition to making a range of blood disorder drugs and antiviral, also produces smallpox, botulism and anthrax treatments for the US Government.

This combination of biodefense contracting and commercial drugs was a key driver for the deal according to Emergent CEO Daniel J Abdun-Nabi, who said that the capabilities would be a good fit for his firm’s own role as an anthrax vaccine supplier .

The addition of Cangene is expected to accelerate our growth driven by a substantially expanded biodefense franchise, a portfolio of approved specialty therapeutics sold through an established commercial infrastructure.”

Emergent is funding the takeover – which is expected to complete in the first quarter next year – through a combination of cash and new loans agreed with Bank of America Merrill Lynch along with PNC Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.

Abdun-Nabi also said the takeover target’s contract manufacturing business as an important motivator for the acquisition, citing Baltimore, US-based Cangene bioPharma – which offers fill/finish services for both liquid and lyophilised drugs as an additional benefit.

Biodefense business

The Cangene deal is the second biodefense-focused acquisition Emergent has made this year. In August the firm bought the healthcare protective products division of Bracco Diagnostics, which makes a lotion designed for the removal of chemicals warfare agents.

That acquisition followed just a few weeks after Emergent’s anthrax vaccine product – BioThrax – was approved by regulators in Germany. 

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