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16 August, 2018 - 09:14 By Tony Quested

New York venture takes Abzena for $44m to cap great week for Babraham

The Big Apple has taken another bite out of Cambridge UK biotech with a near-$44 million acquisition of Abzena by a newly-formed New York enterprise.

The deal has been agreed by the boards of Babraham Research Campus business Abzena plc and Astro Bidco Limited, a new company wholly-owned by the WCAS Fund in New York.

The new company has been established to steer through the acquisition for WCAS Fund and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.

Jonathan Goldman, operating partner of WCAS, said: “Abzena is a highly respected company with a world-class team of employees that offers differentiated and integrated solutions to customers. 

“WCAS is excited to partner with the Abzena team to grow the company and maintain the standards of excellence and quality expected by customers and regulators.”

WCAS general partner Brian Regan added: “WCAS has a long history of investing in market leading companies in life sciences. Abzena has grown significantly in recent years and has an excellent reputation as a pharmaceutical services organisation.”

Abzena chairman Ken Cunningham said his board recognised the expertise and successful track record of WCAS in backing businesses in the life sciences services space, including contract research, development and manufacturing organisations like Abzena. 

He revealed: “We considered several options for future financing including remaining on the public markets. However we believe the acquisition by WCAS will better meet the needs of Abzena’s shareholders, customers and staff alike, and provide a platform for further growth in the coming years.”

Abzena CEO John Burt said the acquisition would provide the company with  immediate working capital for the business, followed by additional investment, post completion that would enable Abzena to scale the business and fund further development.”

The Abzena deal caps a fabulous week for Babraham Research Campus and its astute CEO Derek Jones.

As Business Weekly reported earlier this week, Babraham tenant Quethera was bought by a Japanese group for $109m and neighbour Artios Pharma raised $84m scale-up capital and has now raised $120m in less than two years.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Babraham Research Campus

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