Wave of acquisitions hits pharma industry this week

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(PeopleImages/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(PeopleImages/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Mergers and acquisitions acquisition Eli lilly and company WCG Ppd

The past several days have seen a relatively large number of industry acqusitions, with Lilly, Phillip Morris, WCG, CTI and others making notable buys.

This year has already seen its shares of interesting acquisitions—ICON purchasing PRA​ for a reported $12b USD and Thermo Fisher Scientific buying PPD​ for about $17.4b USD are among the noteworthy deals. However, this week has seen more acquisition activity than most.

Philip Morris International acquiring Vectura Group

US-based cigarette maker Philip Morris International (PMI) has announced plans to acquire Vectura Group, a company that specializes in inhaled drug-delivery solutions. Vectura’s board agreed to the terms of an all-cash offer of approximately $1.2b USD.

According to Jacek Olczak, CEO of PMI, the acquisition fits in with the company’s intentions to expand its offerings beyond cigarettes.

PMI’s Beyond Nicotine strategy, announced in February, articulates a clear ambition to leverage our expertise in inhalation and aerosolization into adjacent areas—including respiratory drug delivery and self-care wellness—with a goal to reach at least $1b USD in net revenues by 2025​,” he stated. “The acquisition of Vectura, following the recently announced agreement to acquire [pharmaceutical and nutraceutical provider] Fertin Pharma, will position us to accelerate this journey by expanding our capabilities in innovative inhaled and oral product formulations in order to deliver long-term growth and returns​.”

Olczak added that the rapid growth of the inhaled therapeutics market helped make Vectura an appealing target for acquisition, in line with its Beyond Nicotine plans.

Together, PMI and Vectura can lead this global category, bringing benefits to patients, to consumers, to public health, and to society-at-large,​” he said.

Lilly acquiring Protomer Technologies

Eli Lilly and Co. has set its sights on biotechnology firm Protomer Technologies. Protomer's technologies include a proprietary peptide- and protein-engineering platform, employed is used to identify and synthesize molecules that can sense glucose or other endogenous modulators of protein activity. 

According to the companies, the transaction’s potential value is more than $1b USD. Ruth Gimeno, vice president of diabetes research and clinical investigation at Lilly, said the acquisition makes a good fit with the company’s offerings and goals regarding diabetes therapies.

"Lilly has long strived to make life better for people living with diabetes and we have a continued determination to provide real solutions, including innovation in insulin therapy; glucose-sensing insulin is the next frontier and has the potential to revolutionize the treatment and quality of life of people with diabetes by dramatically improving both therapeutic efficacy and safety of insulin therapy​," she said. "Protomer's glucose-sensing insulin program, based on its proprietary molecular engineering of protein sensors (MEPS) platform, is showing significant promise and Lilly is excited to enhance our diabetes pipeline with the company's innovative technology.​"

WCG acquiring Intrinsic Imaging

Clinical research solutions provider WCG is acquiring Intrinsic Imaging, a company that offers medical imaging core lab services. The move reportedly is intended to strengthen WCG’s roster of scientific and regulatory capabilities.

WCG’s executive chairman and CEO Donald Deieso said that imaging capabilities are becoming increasingly important to regulators, as well as other parties along the research pipeline.

The growing need to visually demonstrate safety and efficacy to regulators, patients, providers, payers, and other research stakeholders is driving the increasingly critical role medical imaging is playing in clinical trials​,” Deieso said. “Acquiring Intrinsic Imaging is yet another example of WCG’s longstanding commitment to anticipating and meeting such evolving client needs, providing trial sponsors, sites, and CROs worldwide with industry-leading solutions to simplify complexity, increase precision and accelerate vital medical research that advances patient care​.”

CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services acquiring Dynakin

Contract research organization (CRO) CTI Clinical Trial and Consulting Services has announced its acquisition of Dynakin, a specialized European CRO offering a GLP bio lab and model-based drug development services.

According to CTI, Dynakin’s CRO services will be merged into CTI’s European clinical team, and Dynakin co-founders Monica Rodriguez and Nerea Leal will join CTI in new roles.

Timothy Schroeder, CEO and chairman of CTI, said, “Dynakin and CTI share common philosophies and cultures, with a focus on teamwork, employee retention, and career development. We are passionate about continued growth and expansion for the continued success of the company, so this acquisition is a great fit for the next phase of growth at CT​I.”

Curia acquiring Integrity Bio

Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Curia, formerly AMRI, has announced a definitive agreement to acquire formulation/fill/finish organization Integrity Bio. The newly acquired company, which formulates more than 60 large molecules, recently added a fill-finish line, more than doubling its manufacturing capacity.

John Ratliff, CEO and chairman of Curia, said Integrity Bio’s capabilities complement Curia’s offerings and set the stage to impact patients’ lives.

The addition of Integrity Bio is a great fit with our growth strategy and our existing expertise, enhancing our biologics drug product formulation development as well as our fill-finish network​," he stated. “Integrity Bio also adds West Coast coverage to Curia’s East Coast and European capabilities​.”

Curia acquiring LakePharma

Curia also announced plans to acquire LakePharma, a biologics-centered CDMO. The company offers a range of services, including discovery, development, and manufacturing.

Ratliff said LakePharma stands to expand Curia’s capabilities in small- and large-molecule research, development and manufacturing.

"Our combined capabilities will enable us to partner with our customers by seamlessly providing LakePharma’s multi-modality innovation and speed along with fill-finish solutions from Curia​,” Ratliff commented. "Our agreements with LakePharma and Integrity Bio demonstrate our commitment to expanding and deepening our biologics capabilities to help our customers advance from curiosity to cure​.”

Wesana Health acquiring PsyTech

Neurological solutions developer Wesana Health Holdings is acquiring PsyTech, a company centered on the advancement of psilocybin-based therapies. The transaction is valued at approximately $16.7m USD.

Daniel Carcillo, CEO of Wesana, said, “The acquisition of PsyTech will greatly accelerate our ability to understand, analyze and improve neurological health and performance by providing a data platform on which to build our technical strategy, clinics in which to apply and accelerate our neuroscience research and relationships with many thousands of the practitioners who will leverage our medicines, diagnostics, and technology to heal people​.”

Alterola Biotech acquiring ABTI Pharma

Alterola Biotech has announced its acquisition of ABTI Pharma, a company developing novel cannabinoid, cannabinoid-like, and non-cannabinoid pharmaceutical medicines, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and other ingredients. The acquisition brings a number of potential drug development candidates into Alterola’s portfolio.

Alterola's CEO Seamus McAuley, said, "I am delighted that Alterola has now completed the acquisition of ABTI Pharma Ltd. The acquisition reaffirms the Company's intention to develop pharmaceutical medicines with therapeutic potential, which contain cannabinoid and cannabinoid-like molecules​."

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