Thursday, March 7, 2013
Ajinomoto To Buy U.S. Biopharma Maker Althea
TOKYO (Nikkei)--Ajinomoto Co. (2802) said Wednesday it will acquire U.S. firm Althea Technologies Inc. for 16 billion yen, with plans to obtain 100% of shares in the biopharmaceutical manufacturer next month.
Biopharmaceuticals are said to have fewer side effects than conventional drugs, so the market for them is expanding.
Althea generates annual sales of 5 billion yen. The firm handles everything from clinical trials to production of drugs on a subcontracting basis for more than 100 firms.
Through the acquisition, Ajinomoto hopes to achieve synergies by using its amino acid technology to make biopharmaceutical production more efficient. The goal is to generate at least 30 billion yen in sales from the operations in 2020.
Contract manufacturing is less risky than developing new drugs. "We will not stop developing new drugs," Ajinomoto President Masatoshi Ito told a news conference Wednesday. "But with contract manufacturing as a second pillar, we can broaden the business domain."
Ajinomoto expects biopharmaceuticals to be the core of its drug business in the future. Last November, the company set up a joint venture with South Korea's Genexine Co. to manufacture cell culture media for the production of biopharmaceuticals.
(The Nikkei, March 7 morning edition)