Merck Acquires Mirus Bio for $600 Million to Strengthen Viral Vector Manufacturing Capabilities

23 May 2024 | Thursday | News

Acquisition enhances Merck’s portfolio in cell and gene therapies, advancing its Life Science sector's growth in novel modalities
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

  • Acquisition will advance Merck’s integrated offering for viral vector manufacturing
  • Complements existing portfolio for development and production of novel modalities such as cell and gene therapies
  • Novel modalities are a key growth area for Merck’s Life Science business sector

Merck, a leading science and technology company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire life science company Mirus Bio for US$ 600 million (around € 550 million).

Based in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, Mirus Bio is a specialist in the development and commercialization of transfection reagents. Transfection reagents, such as Mirus Bio's TransIT-VirusGEN®, are used to help introduce genetic material into cells. These reagents play a key role in the production of viral vectors for cell and gene therapies.

“This strategic acquisition is a further building block for accelerating growth in the break-through technologies of the future. As a leader in the production of viral vectors, our goal is to make the significant potential of cell and gene therapy available for patients worldwide,” said Belén Garijo, Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck. “As a leading science and technology company, we are well-positioned to support our Life Science customers across the biopharmaceutical industry to bring new curative treatments to market.”

“Novel modalities, such as viral vector-based cell and gene therapies, hold immense promise to improve the lives of patients. Combining Mirus Bio's leading technology with Merck's bioprocessing expertise and portfolio allows us to provide solutions for almost every step of viral vector development and manufacturing,” said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Life Science. “With our integrated offering along the viral vector value chain, we are now well-positioned to support our customers in this fast-growing market to positively impact the lives and health of patients worldwide.”

“We have been driving innovation in nucleic acid delivery for two decades,” said Dale Gordon, CEO of Mirus Bio. “Merck’s broad portfolio, scale, and global reach, combined with our leading transfection reagents, will help take our business to even greater heights and allow us to serve more customers, and ultimately patients, worldwide.”

The transaction with Gamma Biosciences, a life sciences platform established by global investment firm KKR, for the acquisition of Mirus Bio is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024 and is subject to regulatory clearance and other customary closing conditions.

Merck’s Life Science business sector provides the tools, high-grade chemicals and consumables that accelerate scientific breakthroughs across the entire pharmaceutical industry. This includes one of the broadest product portfolios for bioproduction processes. The acquisition of Mirus Bio is an important step towards Merck's ambition to offer solutions for every step of viral vector manufacturing to advance cell and gene therapies from preclinical through commercial production. The company’s expertise covers a variety of viral vector types, including adeno-associated virus, lentivirus, and adenovirus. Additionally, Merck offers both contract testing services and a wide range of comprehensive contract development and manufacturing services for viral vector manufacturing with more than three decades of experience supporting cell and gene therapies on the path to commercialization.

Novel Modalities like cell and gene therapies, antibody-drug conjugates or mRNA hold immense promise to improve the lives of patients. The global market for process products for these modalities is expected to grow by around 20% per year over the mid-term. For example, the overall number of cell and gene therapies in development has doubled since 2019, and more advance to commercial stage. Viral Vectors play a key role in the production of these life-changing therapies. To support this growth, Merck opened its second Carlsbad, California-based viral vector contract development manufacturing facility in 2021. The € 100 million investment more than doubled the company’s capacity to support large-scale commercial and industrial manufacturing for viral gene therapy. Merck also invests in R&D to enable its customers to bring new curative treatments to market. In 2024, the company laid the cornerstone for a new Life Science research center at its global headquarters in Darmstadt. The more than € 300 million investment will bring together research on key technologies, including viral vectors and novel modalities like mRNA.


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