Supplier News: Ginkgo Bioworks, AGC Biologics, Kindeva & More 

The latest from CDMOs, CMOs, and suppliers featuring Ginkgo Bioworks, AGC Biologics, Kindeva Drug Delivery, and eureKING.  

Biologics Manufacturing 
* Merck & Co., Ginkgo Bioworks In $490-M Biologics Mfg Pact   
* AGC Biologics Completes Expansion at Milan Cell- & Gene-Therapy Mfg Center 
* SPAC EureKING to Acquire CDMO SCTBio   
Formulation Development/Drug Product Manufacturing 
* UK Gov’t Grants Kindeva $42-M Grant for Green Inhalers, Mgs

Biologics Manufacturing 

Merck & Co., Ginkgo Bioworks In $490-M Biologics Mfg Pact 
Merck & Co. and Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based biotechnology company specializing in cell engineering for industrial applications, have entered a collaboration focused on improving biologic manufacturing, in a deal worth up to $490 million. 

Ginkgo will apply its expertise and capabilities in cell engineering, ultra-high-throughput multiplexed screening, protein characterization, and process optimization to improve production efficiency and increase yields.  

Under the agreement, Ginkgo is eligible to receive, in aggregate, up to $490 million in upfront research fees, research milestone fees, option license payments, and commercial milestone payments. 

This is the second collaboration between Ginkgo and Merck. In October 2022, the companies announced a biocatalysis project to improve Merck’s active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing. 

Source: Ginkgo Bioworks 

AGC Biologics Completes Expansion at Milan Cell- & Gene-Therapy Mfg Center 
AGC Biologics, a contract biologics manufacturer, has completed an expansion at its Milan Cell & Gene Center of Excellence production site.  

The expansion added one 50-L, two 200-L and two 1,000-L suspension single-use bioreactors and allows for the addition of up to four single-use bioreactors to meet demand for cGMP viral vector manufacturing projects. In addition, the project included the build-out of more process development lab space, a new automated filling line, and the addition of 1,000 square meters of warehouse space. 

AGC Biologics acquired the Milan site to launch it cell- and gene-therapy business in July of 2020. The company operates two cell- and gene-therapy facilities within its global network, one in Milan and one in Longmont, Colorado. These sites also receive support from the company’s site in Heidelberg, Germany, which produces proprietary plasmid starting materials for advanced therapies.   

Source: AGC Biologics 

SPAC EureKING to Acquire CDMO SCTBio 
EureKING, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), has agreed to acquire SCTBio, a CDMO specializing in cell therapies and viral vectors, for EUR 13 million ($15 million). 

eureKING was founded in March 2022 by eureKARE, an investment firm focused on financing and building companies in the fields of synthetic biology and the microbiome, The acquisition of SCTBio is part of a strategy by eureKING’s to build its holdings in bioproduction, in biologics CDMOs in three main areas: (1) the production of biologics, in particular, for new generations of monoclonal antibodies or complex proteins; (2) the production of cell and gene therapies; and (3) the production of live biotherapeutics (with applications in the microbiome). 

EureKING says it will seek to invest in biopharmaceutical CDMOs that can offer a variety of services across the biopharmaceutical value chain, including drug-product development (e.g., sourcing and specimen manufacturing), drug-substance manufacturing (e.g., extraction and synthesis, and drug-product manufacturing (e.g., formulation and commercial production). 

The transaction values SCTbio assets at approximately EUR 19.5 million ($22 million). The acquisition of SCTbio by eureKING will be transacted for a cash consideration of EUR 13.08 million ($15 million) for 67% SCTbio shares held by PPF Biotech, and the remaining PPF Biotech-held 33% SCTbio stake will be settled by newly issued shares of eureKING. After the completion of the transaction, SCTbio will be fully owned by eureKING, and PPF Biotech, the parent company of SCTBio, will  retain a minority share in eureKING. 

The transaction is expected to close during the last quarter of this year (2023), subject to regulatory approval. 

This is another announced acquisition by eureKING to build its CDMO holdings in biologics.  

In May (May 2023), eureKing announced its plan to acquire Skyepharma, a Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France-based CDMO of oral drug technologies. Skyepharma has what it calls its “Skyehub” model that hosts dedicated biomanufacturing facilities to allow customers to use the company’s quality system and, at the same time, preserve intellectual property. The Skyehub model has an initial focus on live biotherapeutic products. eureKING said that Skyepharma’s scalable and manufacturing platform would facilitate eureKING’s strategy to combine companies specializing in the production of biological products, cell and gene therapies, and live biotherapeutics.  

Source: PPF Biotech 

Formulation Development/Drug Product Manufacturing 

UK Gov’t Grants Kindeva $42-M Grant for Green Inhalers, Mfg 
The UK Government’s Life Sciences Innovation Manufacturing Fund has granted Kindeva Drug Delivery, a CDMO of drug-delivery services and autoinjectors, £33 million ($42 million) in joint funding for enhancing inhaler manufacturing and sustainability.  

The funds would be used to enhance Kindeva’s capability and capacity to manufacture green pressurized metered-dose inhalers and to continue delivering therapies for respiratory diseases.  

The funding supports the company’s obal development and manufacturing of inhalers using new, lower global warming potential (GWP) propellants at two of the company’s UK sites, Loughborough and Clitheroe. Additionally, the funding supports: (1) new manufacturing capability and capacity in Loughborough for the next generation of green inhalers; (2) green improvements to Kindeva’s underlying inhaler componentry supply chain at the company’s Clitheroe site; and (3) pharmaceutical companies as they make green transitions with existing products by reducing GWP emissions and helping meet sustainability targets as well as the opportunity to bring new green inhalers and respiratory therapies to patients. 

Source: Kindeva Drug Delivery