Merck To Acquire Biologics Companies GlycoFi and Abmaxis

May 11, 2006
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

Merck & Co Inc. (Whitehouse Station, NJ) has agreed to acquire two biologics companies: GlycoFi Inc. (Lebanon, NH), a specialist in yeast glycoengineering for $400 million, and the biopharmaceutical company Abmaxis Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) for $80 million.


Merck & Co Inc. (Whitehouse Station, NJ,  www.merck.com) hasagreed to acquire two biologics companies: GlycoFi Inc. (Lebanon, NH, www.glycofi.com), aspecialist in yeast glycoengineering for $400 million, and thebiopharmaceutical company Abmaxis Inc. (Santa Clara, CA, www.abmaxis.com) for$80 million.

GlycoFi has a position in yeast-based protein optimization technologythat may be used for developing, producing and commercializingbiotherapeutics. Glycoengineering provides the ability to make proteinssuch as monoclonal antibodies with pre-specified and defined humancarbohydrate chains. Merck says the ability to make such proteins inyeast has advantages of speed, costs, and quality over current methodsof producing monoclonal antibodies and other protein-basedtherapeutics.

Abmaxis is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on thediscovery and optimization of monoclonal antibodies. Its antibodyengineering technology platform, "Aisim" (Abamaxis in-silicoimmunization) enables structure-centric computational design followedby experimental selection of human or humanized monoclonal antibodies.

Both deals are expected to close in the second quarter.

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