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24 November, 2015 - 09:24 By Kate Sweeney

Abzena raises £20m for US takeover and R & D

Abzena CEO, John Burt

Cambridge medical technology business Abzena has conditionally raised £20 million to fund an acquisition in the US and underpin R & D on existing and developing products.

The UK-quoted group has agreed to buy The Chemistry Research Solution LLC (TCRS), based in Philadelphia. The deal is subject to certain closing conditions including completion of the £20m placing and targets cancer therapies.

Abzena will pay $15m (£10m) to acquire the entire ownership interests in TCRS – a specialist contract chemistry and bioconjugation company with expertise in producing and analysing antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).

Abzena CEO, John Burt (pictured above), said: “The acquisition is an important strategic step in our ambition to build Abzena into a self-sustaining business and ‘partner of choice’ for R & D organisations developing biopharmaceutical drugs.

“TCRS is an established, profitable company providing chemistry and conjugation services that complement our own. Bringing TCRS into the Abzena Group will enable wider access to Abzena’s proprietary ADC technologies and, in time, TCRS will be able to provide our partners with larger scale and GMP manufacture.

“By broadening our service and technology offering with the addition of TCRS to the group we are better placed to help our partners develop the next generation of cancer therapies – a fast growing market requiring specialist innovation and differentiation.”

Burt added that the acquisition created new cross-selling opportunities for Abzena’s antibody engineering and biopharmaceutical manufacturing services. It also established another operating presence in the US in a key East coast life sciences hub, complementing the West coast location of Abzena company, PacificGMP

Abzena has also posted its half-year results for the six months to September 30 and Burt said it was a tale of delivery, acquisition and growth.

Group revenue was up 43 per cent to £3.5m with gross profit up 31 per cent to £1.6m. Abzena reported loss of £3.m (H1 2015: £2.7 million) reflecting increased investment in the business.
Burt said that 10 partner programmes leveraging the ‘Abzena inside’ technology initiative were now in clinical development.

He said: “The business has grown significantly in the period, both organically and via acquisition. We anticipate further growth with the recent acquisition of PacificGMP which adds manufacturing to our offering, enabling us to support our customers from lead identification through to clinical trials.

“The increasing  number of ‘Abzena inside’ products in clinical development represents significant value to the group in the form of potential milestones and/or royalty payments.

“As seen by the acquisition of Adheron Therapeutics by Roche, the attractiveness of these products to Big Pharma for their own pipelines is further evidence of their value. “We start the second half with good current trading and the planned acquisition of TCRS that will extend our offering in the ADC field.”

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