Cardinal Health is to acquire 100 per cent ownership of protein production specialist Gala Biotech for $15.5 million (€13.2m) in a move to bolster its drug development services business.
The deal sees Cardinal take control of the remaining 42 per cent of Gala, which has developed a gene-insertion technology that is used in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies.
The two companies first came together in September 2002, when Cardinal entered into a strategic relationship with Gala to bring the start-up company's proprietary technology forward.
"The biopharmaceutical industry is constantly evolving - influenced, in part, by the rapidly growing therapeutic protein market," said Frank Leo, president of the Biotechnology and Sterile Life Sciences business of Cardinal. The company is well positioned to service this industry's needs 'from gene to clinic', he added.
Gala's patent-pending Gene Product Expression (GPEx) gene insertion technology allows rapid creation of stable mammalian cell lines with high gene copy numbers for enhanced protein yields, permitting efficient pilot and large-scale production of monoclonal antibodies and other therapeutic proteins. Through insertion of multiple copies of the gene or genes into mammalian cells, Gala can quickly create stable cell lines that exhibit significantly higher levels of expression than those created using traditional methods, according to Cardinal.
Since its relationship with Gala was formed, Cardinal Health has invested $12 million to expand Gala's operations and accelerate its business development efforts. Consequently, Gala has been able to significantly increase its team of skilled personnel and has outfitted its facility with the capacity for Phase I and Phase II current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) biomanufacturing.
Gala will become part of the Biotechnology and Sterile Life Sciences business of Cardinal, which, alongside its Pharmaceutical Technologies and Services segment, provides protein drug development and commercial scale manufacturing, as well as vial fill-finish, radio isotope conjugation, contract sales, logistics, specialty distribution of commercial products and medical education.