4D Pharma acquires Spanish CRO Instituto Biomar

Laboratory life science

4D Pharma has bought out the production assets of its long-term Spanish-based contract research organization partner Biomar in a deal worth nearly $10 million.

The Leeds, U.K.-based pharma company--which focuses on the development of live biotherapeutics—said privately-held Biomar had been working as an outsourced development partner since 2014.

It has specifically been helping with development projects generated by its MicroRx platform, as well as providing a secondary or backup facility for both the Thetanix and Blautix programs.

4D's board said Biomar had initially focused on research into marine microorganisms and their use in pharmaceutical, bio-energy and food production. In 2001 it expanded into microbial fermentation, providing contract services in the field and expanding its production capacity to 3,000 litres in 2010.

A newly incorporated Spanish subsidiary, 4D Pharma León, will acquire the business assets from Biomar and take a lease at its premises in León. Of the current Biomar staff, 13 will move to 4D León as part of the transaction with a further five staff to be recruited in the coming months.

Consideration for the acquisition was set at €3 million ($3.42 million) payable on completion, with €2 million of that being paid in cash. The remainder would be satisfied by the issue of 83,249 shares in 4D at a price of £9.805 ($13.90).

An additional €3 million is set to become payable, dependent on GMP certification in respect of the production of live biotherapeutics at the León facility.

4D's chief scientific officer Alex Stevenson said: “Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed first-hand the issues of relying on third party providers for the production of our product for clinical and development programmes.”

“As our pace of development continues, with more of our programmes moving towards the clinic, 4D needs continued access to its own facilities to meet the challenges of our ambitious clinical development programmes, but also in looking forward to our initial production requirements.”

This comes two months after its purchase of Tucana Health Limited--an Irish academic start-up focusing on the development of live biotherapeutics, with the £3.1 million deal focusing initially on IBS treatments.

Also in February, Biomar announced a deal with the private, Libertyville, IL-based Valent BioSciences Corporation that will see the two companies work on the development of new biorational products for the global agriculture, public health, and forestry markets. Financial details of the pact were not disclosed.

4D has had its problems in recent months however and earlier this year delayed the dosing of patients in a Phase I trial of its candidate Thetanix for pediatric Crohn's disease, citing “quality concerns that have come to light at one of our supply partners during manufacture of an additional batch of Thetanix.”

-see the GEN news story

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