Sinopharm considering $1B buy for Shanghai-based DNA maker BBI Life Sciences: report

China’s state-run drugmaker Sinopharm is considering a $1 billion deal to acquire BBI Life Sciences, a Shanghai-based producer of DNA synthesis and genetic engineering products, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Also known as China National Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm is described as one among a handful of interested potential buyers. Discussions are currently in the early stages, the report said.

BBI Life Sciences provides raw materials and consumables for life science research, as well as for the food and agriculture industries. It has locations in China, Canada and the U.S., with the latter two operating under the name Bio Basic as a contract research and manufacturing organization.

Its portfolio includes reagents and the molecular building blocks for constructing synthetic DNA, which is used in the development of drugs and certain diagnostic tests. The company also offers protein- and antibody-related services, aimed at immunology experiments.

According to Bloomberg, BBI Life Sciences went public in Hong Kong in 2014 but was later taken private in 2020 by the Wang family, whose members serve as chairman, president and CEO. 

Sinopharm, meanwhile, is a major COVID-19 vaccine producer, providing one of the two shots in China alongside Sinovac Biotech. Last year those two companies signed a deal with COVAX to supply up to 550 million doses to the international vaccine sharing program.

More recently, this past March, Sinopharm announced that it would work with Brii Biosciences to commercialize a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment in China. The ambavirumab/romisevirumab combination therapy received an approval in the country in December 2021.