Japanese chemicals firm Asahi Kasei has ramped up its bioprocessing operations with the acquisition of US industrial processing specialist TechniKrom’s biopharmaceuticals business.
The integrated offering, which will operate as a wholly-owned Asahi subsidiary, will combine TechniKrom’s portfolio of processing equipment and validation services with Asahi’s hollow-fibre and membrane adsorption technologies.
The deal, financial terms of which have not been released, builds on the firms’ collaboration centred on Asahi’s range of industrial Planova virus removal filters and, according to the Japanese company, will help drugmakers lower production cost and improve product quality.
Yasuyuki Yoshida, president of Asahi Kasei Medical, said the deal seems like a perfect fit in terms of the firm’s global expansion plan. He explained that the integration provides “a base for the development, production, and sale of equipment and systems in the US.”
While the US market for biologics and biotherapies has grown continually since it first emerged as a going concern 25 years ago, the development of follow-on biologics as patent expiry looms looks set to shift the expansion into a higher gear.
In recent months for example, several US majors like Pfizer and Merck & Co have expressed an interest in growing their generic biologics portfolio in preference to investing in the development of non-biologic drugs.
While such big pharma interest would have proved a barrier to entry for smaller firm’s wishing to claim a share of the traditional drug market, the greater technical difficulties associated with manufacture of biologics may mean there is more scope for technically proficient biotechnology companies to prosper alongside the industrial giants.
In addition, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent approval of the first drug to be derived from transgenic-animals; GTC Biotherapeutics’ anti-clotting therapy Atryn, suggests that US demand for effective bioprocessing solutions will continue growing. All of which looks good for Asahi Kasei TechniKrom in terms of developing its business in the US.
TechniKrom President Lou Bellafiore was also pleased about the new relationship. He said that: “In addition to our existing products and services that we will continue to offer, we are extremely excited about the line-up of novel bioprocess separations products that Asahi Kasei TechniKrom will introduce."