MEDTECH

Solvias Acquires Cergentis to Bolster Biologics and Cell & Gene Therapy Capabilities

Solvias | July 18, 2022 | Read time : 33:14 min

Solvias Acquires
Solvias, one of the world's leading independent pharmaceutical testing and manufacturing companies, announced today that it has acquired Utrecht, Netherlands-based Cergentis. The acquisition bolsters Solvias' platform of biologics and cell and gene therapy testing solutions.

According to pharmaceutical market intelligence provider, Evaluate, global sales of cell and gene therapies are projected to accelerate at a 63% compound annual growth rate through 2026. As more researchers leverage emerging genetic engineering techniques to develop complex, novel medicines, they require sophisticated solutions to analyze their safety and effectiveness.

With the addition of Cergentis, Solvias supports the increasing number of global pharmaceutical, biotech, and contract development and manufacturing organizations developing genetically engineered therapies with an expanded platform of testing services highlighted by

  • a highly scientific team possessing advanced degrees and deep expertise steeped in emerging genome techniques and evolving regulatory requirements
  • proprietary genomic analysis technology that delivers comprehensive data in a single experiment that enables effective decision-making and R&D program design
  • a global network serving customers across three continents
  • customized support for distinct genetic engineering applications, including cell and gene therapy, cell line development & genetically engineered models
  • specialized knowledge in genomic sequencing of early-stage cell lines to support one of the first steps in the R&D process
  • high-touch support encompassing end-to-end logistical services, digital project management and reporting capabilities to enable rapid turnaround time


"We are relentlessly focused on ensuring the safety of new therapies in development. Cergentis is a cornerstone acquisition that expands our solutions supporting complex and emerging therapies. We will continue to pursue strategic acquisitions that add specialized capabilities to our offering and advance our goal of being a forerunner in our industry."

Archie Cullen, CEO, Solvias

Joris Schuurmans, CEO, Cergentis, added:
"We are excited to become part of a global leader that complements our scientific expertise, innovation and customer service. Solvias and Cergentis share a deep commitment to providing our customers with the highest quality solutions and support to safely get their products into the hands of patients who need them."

Effective immediately, Mr. Schuurmans will join Solvias' leadership team and continue to lead operations for Cergentis.

Cergentis marks Solvias' second acquisition since partnering with health care investors Water Street Healthcare Partners and JLL Partners in 2020. The company has recruited industry leaders to join its board and commenced a program to significantly upgrade and expand its information technology platform and infrastructure to support its plans for global expansion.

Financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed. Achelous Partners served as the advisor to Cergentis on the transaction.

About Cergentis
Cergentis is a trusted genomics-focused biotechnology company providing services and in-house solutions based on its proprietary genomic analysis platform to all leading biopharmaceutical companies and renowned research institutes. With widely published and recognized genetic analyses, Cergentis supports a global customer base in the characterization and QC of genetically engineered models, biopharmaceutical cell line development, and cell- and gene therapy products. By helping to de-risk R&D program decisions, minimizing time-to-clinic, providing objective genomic evidence for regulators, and supporting patient safety, Cergentis aims to support biopharmaceutical medicine development programs worldwide. 

About Solvias AG
Solvias is a worldwide leader in contract research, development and manufacturing for the pharmaceutical, biotech, material science and cosmetic industries. Drawing on 20 years of scientific excellence, the company provides flexible and scalable analytical and manufacturing solutions that ensure the integrity of pharmaceutical and medical device products across their life cycle. Headquartered in Kaiseraugst near Basel, Switzerland, Solvias and its laboratories operate to the highest standards and in accordance with ISO, GMP, GLP and FDA regulations. 

Spotlight

Quality control (QC) assessment is essential to the success of all nucleic acid workflows. Without performing reliable QC steps, the results of downstream applications can be
compromised, costing you precious time and resources.

Spotlight

Quality control (QC) assessment is essential to the success of all nucleic acid workflows. Without performing reliable QC steps, the results of downstream applications can be
compromised, costing you precious time and resources.

Related News

CELL AND GENE THERAPY

Sesen Bio and Carisma Therapeutics Announce Merger Agreement

Sesen Bio and Carisma Therapeutics | September 22, 2022

Sesen Bio, Inc. and Carisma Therapeutics Inc. a privately held, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing innovative immunotherapies, announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to combine the companies in an all-stock transaction. The combined company will focus on the advancement of Carisma’s proprietary cell therapy platform that utilizes engineered macrophages and monocytes to potentially transform the treatment of cancer and other serious disorders. Carisma is pioneering the development of chimeric antigen receptor macrophage therapies and is believed to be the only company developing CAR-M therapies with demonstrated proof of mechanism and safety data in clinical trials. The combined company is expected to operate under the name Carisma Therapeutics Inc. and trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “CARM”. Carisma has also secured commitments from a syndicate of investors for a $30 million financing, including HealthCap, AbbVie, Wellington Partners, SymBiosis, Penn Medicine, TPG Biotech, MRL Ventures Fund, the therapeutics-focused corporate venture arm of Merck & Co., Agent Capital, Solasta, Livzon, Pictet Alternative Advisors and 4Bio, which is expected to close concurrently with the completion of the merger. With the cash expected from both companies at closing and the proceeds of the concurrent financing, the combined company is expected to have approximately $180 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities. These cash resources are expected to be used to advance Carisma’s pipeline through multiple ongoing and planned key data readouts across several clinical trials and to fund operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements through 2024. The merger and related financing are expected to close in the next three to four months. “The proposed merger represents an exciting opportunity for shareholders of each company, and we believe it gets us one step closer to our goal of revolutionizing the field of immunotherapy. This transaction will provide us with financial strength to not only continue to develop our lead candidate CT-0508, but also allow us to accelerate the growth of our platform and pipeline within and outside of oncology and develop additional strong strategic partnerships beyond those we already have with Moderna and Novartis. Carisma is focused on delivering cutting-edge technology for patients in a way that has never been done before, and we look forward to advancing this important mission.” Steven Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Carisma “This transaction represents the result of a thoughtful and careful review of strategic alternatives over the past four months, during which Carisma’s clinical programs, management team, and corporate strategy stood out amongst the 42 bids reviewed,” said Dr. Thomas Cannell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sesen Bio. “Carisma is an exciting clinical-stage company with groundbreaking science and an impressive management team, which we believe makes them the optimal partner to provide value for our shareholders. Our mission at Sesen Bio has always been to save and improve the lives of patients with cancer, and we believe Carisma has the science and the unwavering patient focus required to make that mission a reality.” About the Proposed Merger Pre-merger Sesen Bio stockholders are expected to own approximately 41.7% and pre-merger Carisma stockholders are expected to own approximately 58.3% of the combined company, in each case before giving effect to the concurrent financing described above and the conversion of the outstanding Moderna convertible note. Under the terms of the merger agreement, stockholders of Carisma will receive newly issued shares of Sesen Bio common stock pursuant to an exchange ratio formula set forth in the merger agreement. The percentage of the combined company that Sesen Bio stockholders will own upon the closing of the merger is further subject to adjustment based on the amount of Sesen Bio’s net cash at the time of closing. Immediately prior to the closing of the proposed merger, Sesen Bio stockholders of record will be issued a contingent value right (CVR) for each outstanding share of Sesen Bio common stock held by such Sesen Bio stockholder as of such date, representing the right to receive certain cash payments from proceeds received by Sesen Bio related to the Roche Asset Purchase Agreement, if any, subject to customary deductions, including for expenses and taxes. SVB Securities is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Sesen Bio for the transaction and Hogan Lovells US LLP is serving as its legal counsel. Evercore Group LLC is serving as lead financial advisor to Carisma for the transaction and BofA Securities, Inc. is also serving as financial advisor to Carisma for the transaction. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP is serving as legal counsel to Carisma. BofA Securities, Inc. and Evercore Group L.L.C. are serving as co-placement agents for Carisma’s concurrent financing and Shearman & Sterling LLP is serving as the placement agents’ legal counsel. About Sesen Bio Sesen Bio, Inc. is a late-stage clinical company focused on targeted fusion protein therapeutics for the treatment of patients with cancer. Sesen Bio’s most advanced product candidate, Vicineum™, also known as VB4-845, is a locally-administered targeted fusion protein composed of an anti-epithelial cell adhesion molecule antibody fragment tethered to a truncated form of Pseudomonas exotoxin A for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. On July 15, 2022, Sesen Bio made the strategic decision to voluntarily pause further development of Vicineum in the US. The decision was based on a thorough reassessment of Vicineum, which included the incremental development timeline and associated costs for an additional Phase 3 clinical trial, following Sesen Bio’s discussions with the United States Food and Drug Administration. Sesen Bio has turned its primary focus to assessing potential strategic alternatives with the goal of maximizing shareholder value. Additionally, Sesen Bio intends to seek a partner for the further development of Vicineum. About Carisma Therapeutics Carisma Therapeutics Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing a differentiated and proprietary cell therapy platform focused on engineered macrophages, cells that play a crucial role in both the innate and adaptive immune response. The first applications of the platform, developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania*, are autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-macrophages for the treatment of solid tumors. Carisma Therapeutics is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA.

Read More

INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Ribbon Biolabs Establishes IP Portfolio with First Granted U.S. Patent Covering Fast, Cost-Effective, Long DNA Synthesis Technology

Ribbon Biolabs | July 20, 2022

Ribbon Biolabs, the DNA synthesis company, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent US 2020283756 A1, covering Ribbon Biolabs’ novel method for synthesizing a double stranded polynucleotide, also known as DNA, using a diverse library of oligonucleotides. The patent is the first of its submitted patent applications to be granted to the company, forming the foundation of its IP portfolio covering its long DNA synthesis technology. “Our novel method of fast, accurate, cost-effective DNA synthesis constitutes the basis of Ribbon Biolabs’ proprietary capabilities, and the grant of this patent serves as a validation of our highly differentiated solution for synthetic biology. Previous methods for automated DNA synthesis have been limited in their applicability due tob restricted lengths possible to produce and extended development timelines. We look forward to the further expansion of our intellectual property portfolio and our growing collaborations focused on driving innovation in the biotechnology, biopharma and academic research arenas.” Harold P. de Vladar, CEO and founder of Ribbon Biolabs Ribbon Biolabs’ novel approach to synthesizing DNA as described in the patent comprises a pre-built library of oligonucleotides, or shorter genetic sequences, that has been streamlined for efficient access, with reduced time and cost constraints that are further enhanced by an assembly workflow producing long polynucleotides accurately and without mismatches. This method optimizes the throughput time required to synthesize target DNA which has enabled the company to produce lengths beyond 10,000 base pairs efficiently and with high speed, including the recent successful synthetization of a 20,000 bp molecule for an undisclosed pharma client. About Ribbon Biolabs Ribbon Biolabs is a synthetic biology company advancing a new technology for the automated synthesis of long DNA molecules to enable innovation in the life sciences. With its proprietary technology in place, Ribbon Biolabs aims to be an inflection point in the continuing growth of the Bio-Economy by becoming the leading partner for long DNA molecules.

Read More

INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Biocytogen and LiberoThera Achieve Milestone Progress in Co-Development of Fully Human GPCR Antibody Drugs

Biocytogen | July 21, 2022

Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. entered a strategic collaboration with LiberoThera Co., Ltd to co-develop fully human GPCR antibodies using Biocytogen’s advanced antibody discovery platform based on fully human antibody RenMabTM mice combined with LiberoThera’s outstanding membrane antigen preparation technology. In around a year since the collaboration was established, the two parties have screened out a number of fully human therapeutic antibody clones with excellent anti-tumor activity in vitro and in vivo against the first mutually selected GPCR target, CCR8, which has the potential to become a best-in-class product. These antibody clones exhibit high affinity binding to human CCR8 with species cross-reactivity and good manufacturability. Mechanistically, these clones can deplete Tregs from the tumor micro-environment through enhanced ADCC activity, and can also inhibit the activities of Tregs in the tumor micro-environment by inhibiting CCR8 signaling mediated by its ligand CCL1, thereby enhancing the anti-tumor immune response. In the future, the collaborations between two parties will also be extended to other GPCR targets. GPCRs are seven-transmembrane proteins with short extracellular domains and high homology among them which make it difficult to find antibodies against them with high specificity and desired functions. However, both the success rate and the speed of GPCR antibody discovery have greatly increased by combining Biocytogen’s target knocked-out fully human antibody mice RenMab KO, various immunization and antibody discovery technologies, high-throughput in vitro and in vivo screening platform and LiberoThera’s deep understanding of GPCR target structures plus membrane antigen preparation technologies. “We are very pleased that with the joint efforts of us and LiberoThera, the drug development of CCR8, a potential target for tumor immunotherapy, is progressing smoothly. This undoubtedly validates that LiberoThera's advanced antigen preparation technology synergizes with our RenMice KO platform to generate diverse fully human antibodies. Furthermore, our high-throughput in vivo and in vitro screening capabilities ensured that antibodies against GPCRs can be efficiently obtained. We look forward to advancing our CCR8 antibodies into the clinic soon and we also look forward to continue working with LiberoThera to tackle more GPCR targets.” Dr. Yuelei Shen, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Biocytogen “Many GPCRs are important drug targets for a variety of indications. However, due to the special structure of such targets, the development of antibody drugs against them has always been challenging,” said Dr. Toru Kanke, CEO of LiberoThera. “The structural GPCR antigens prepared with LiberoThera’s proprietary cell-free membrane synthesis technologies together with non-natural amino acid incorporation methods can provide a solution for generating quality antibodies against the challenging targets. Biocytogen’s streamlined fully human antibody development platform greatly accelerates the translation of GPCR research. We are very happy to see the rapid progress and discovery of the best-in-class therapeutic antibodies against CCR8 under the collaboration of both parties. We also look forward to the collaborations in the future with Biocytogen to work on more GPCR targets so that to benefit more patients around the world.” About Biocytogen Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. is a global biotechnology company that drives the research and development of novel antibody-based drugs with innovative technologies. Using its proprietary RenMabTM /RenLite® mice platforms for fully human monoclonal and bispecific antibody development, Biocytogen has integrated its in vivo drug efficacy screening platforms and strong clinical development expertise to streamline the entire drug development process. Biocytogen is undertaking a large-scale project to develop antibody drugs for more than 1000 targets, known as Project Integrum, and has entered ongoing collaborations with dozens of partners worldwide to produce a variety of first-in-class and/or best-in-class antibody drugs. At present, many GPCR projects from Project Integrum are under development that are important for treating cancer, metabolic diseases and beyond. In the future, Project Integrum will continue producing more fully human antibodies against GPCRs and other difficult targets. Biocytogen wishes to collaborate with partners around the world to discover, develop and deliver new medicines through innovative technologies that benefit human health. The company's pipeline includes 12 core products, among which two products are in phase II multi-regional clinical trials and two products are in phase I. Headquartered in Beijing, Biocytogen has branches in Haimen Jiangsu, Shanghai, Boston, USA and Heidelberg, Germany. About LiberoThera LiberoThera is a drug discovery company targeting membrane proteins including GPCRs. Founded on the revolutionary research by Prof. Shigeyuki Yokoyama, Emeritus Professor at The University of Tokyo and Distinguished Senior Scientist at RIKEN, LiberoThera utilizes its cutting-edge cell-free protein expression system and non-natural amino acid technology which enable complexed membrane proteins to be prepared in natural forms with structural and functional integrity. LiberoThera is developing novel therapeutic candidates targeting physiologically important membrane proteins, such as GPCRs, in collaboration with multiple partners.

Read More