Germany’s Merck Closes Exelead Acquisition

24.02.2022 - Germany’s Merck has completed the acquisition of US biopharmaceutical CDMO Exelead for $780 million in cash following the fulfillment of all closing conditions. The takeover plans were announced in January this year.

Combining Exelead’s CDMO capabilities with those of Merck’s Life Science business segment will allow the strengthened business to provide customers with comprehensive services across the mRNA value chain, from pre-clinical to commercial, said Life Science CEO Matthias Heinzel.

The Indianapolis, Indiana-based company specializes in PEGylated products complex injectable formulations, including Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP)-based drug delivery technology, which Merck points out is key to mRNA therapeutics and vaccines for indications such as Covid-19 and many other indications.

Merck plans to invest at least €500 million more to scale up the Exelead technology over the next ten years to help it reach its full potential, Heinzel said, noting that “mRNA holds much promise as a treatment well beyond Covid-19.”

The US CDMO has experience in all development phases for LNP formulations, including fill & finish. Merck said Exelead will complement its own more than 20 years’ experience in producing lipids as well as the Darmstadt group’s mRNA manufacturing capabilities acquired through AmpTec in 2020 in addition to simplifying supply chain complexity and enhancing speed-to-market through its end-to-end portfolio.

Over the past two years, Merck’s Life Science business sector has stemmed what it calls “significant investments” to advance traditional and novel modalities (mAb, ADC, HP-API, viral vector, and mRNA) through acquisitions and expansions.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist