Gamma Biosciences to sell Mirus Bio to Merck KGaA for $600m in key biotech deal

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Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (XTRA:MRK), a leading global science and technology company, has agreed to acquire Mirus Bio from Gamma Biosciences for $600 million in cash, marking a significant transaction in the biotechnology and advanced therapy bioprocessing sector. This acquisition is set to enhance Merck’s capabilities in the fast-growing cell and gene therapy market.

Mirus Bio, known for its cutting-edge transfection technology, provides robust solutions for delivering genetic material into cells. Its portfolio includes Research Use Only (RUO) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) reagents and enhancers, pivotal for applications ranging from research to large-scale virus manufacturing. The company’s proprietary technology supports the development of adeno-associated virus (AAV) and lentivirus (LV) therapies, crucial for treating a variety of genetic disorders.

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Since Gamma Biosciences acquired a controlling stake in Mirus Bio in 2021, it has significantly bolstered the company’s growth trajectory. This included the launch of flagship products like VirusGEN® GMP and RevIT AAV Enhancer, specifically designed for high-scale therapeutic virus production. Matt Gunnison, CEO of Gamma Biosciences, expressed pride in Mirus Bio’s progress and confidence in Merck KGaA as the ideal entity to further this growth.

Dale Gordon, CEO of Mirus Bio, highlighted the strategic enhancements under Gamma’s ownership, which have fortified Mirus Bio’s standing in the cell and gene therapy sector. The transition to Merck KGaA is expected to continue the expansion of their GMP portfolio, providing advanced tools necessary for developing affordable, lifesaving therapies.

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KKR’s role through Gamma Biosciences reflects its commitment to fostering innovation within the life sciences sector. Kugan Sathiyanandarajah and Anuv Ratan from KKR emphasized the strategic value created through their investment in Mirus Bio, which includes scaling operations and introducing new products that address complex biopharmaceutical needs.

The deal, advised financially by Jefferies LLC and legally by Sidley Austin LLP for Gamma, is slated for completion in the third quarter of 2024, pending US regulatory and customary closing approvals.

Mirus Bio continues to be a pivotal player in the biopharmaceutical landscape, with over two decades of pioneering work in nucleic acid delivery. The introduction of their VirusGEN GMP Transfection Reagent and Enhancers in 2021 marked a significant milestone in supporting commercial-scale biopharmaceutical operations and cell and gene therapy markets.

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This acquisition not only underscores the dynamic nature of the biotech industry but also highlights the strategic alignments shaping the future of medical science and therapy development.

The acquisition of Mirus Bio by Merck KGaA represents a strategic maneuver within the biotech industry, reflecting an increasing focus on gene and cell therapy sectors. This deal signifies a continuation of the trend where large, established companies absorb specialized biotech firms to harness specific technological advancements, thus accelerating their growth in targeted therapeutic areas.

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