Germany‘s Merck Acquires CDMO Amptec

12.01.2021 - German pharmaceuticals, chemicals and life sciences group Merck has acquired compatriot CDMO AmpTec for an undisclosed sum. The deal is designed to strengthen its life sciences’ arm’s capabilities to develop and manufacture mRNA products for applications in vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for Covid-19, among other diseases.

The Darmstadt-based group said it will continue to invest in mRNA as and plans to scale up this technology both at AmpTec’s existing site in Hamburg and at its own global headquarters. “The success of mRNA-based vaccines for Covid-19 lays the path to accelerate the development of these therapeutics for many other diseases,” said CEO Stefan Oschmann.

Lipids are one of the critical components for the formulation of mRNA therapeutics including Covid-19 vaccines, and Merck, which has more than 20 years’ experience in the field, said it is already collaborating with more than 50 vaccine manufacturers, including some that use mRNA for their products.

Throughout the pandemic, it said it has been collaborating with more than 200 groups developing Covid-19 drugs and vaccines, including Baylor University in the US state of Texas and Oxford University in the UK.

“By combining AmpTec’s PCR-based mRNA technology with Merck’s extensive expertise in lipids manufacturing,  the CEO said, “we are able to provide a truly differentiated and integrated offering across the mRNA value chain, which will significantly decrease supply chain complexity and enhance speed-to-market.”

Merck’s molecular materials portfolio includes custom and predesigned DNA oligos and probes for a variety of applications including PCR and next-generation sequencing and microarray production. AmpTec uses a differentiated PCR-based technology, which reportedly has shown advantages over other manufacturing technologies.

With AmpTec, Merck also is gaining a diagnostics business focused on producing customized long RNAs and DNAs for in-vitro diagnostics. The group’s life science segment will use that capability to augment its own diagnostics business, which is focused on supplying raw materials, components and services for in-vitro diagnostics manufacturers.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist