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Recipharm, working on Moderna’s COVID vaccine, boosts biologics presence with Arranta Bio, Vibalogics buyouts

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine production partner Recipharm unveiled not one, but two acquisitions on Friday amid an expansion sprint that’s been ongoing since last summer.

The CDMO has picked up Arranta Bio and Vibalogics in a two-pronged bid to beef up in biologics. Arranta specializes in microbiome therapeutic products and mRNA clinical production, while Vibalogics focuses on the production of oncolytic viruses, viral vaccines and gene therapies. The latter company also provides process and analytical development, manufacturing, testing and fill-finish services.

Recipharm didn’t say how much it was paying for the two companies, nor did it go into detail about the staff and facilities it’s set to acquire. The company didn’t immediately respond to Fierce Pharma’s request for comment.

The Arranta deal, which is expected to close “around the end of March 2022,” will allow Recipharm to get its hands on Arranta’s “strong” microbiome platform, which incorporates fermentation and purification expertise for naturally derived and engineered bacteria consortia. Arranta complements that platform with services in analytics, proprietary media and cryopreservative formulations, which maximize yields and enhance viability for live biotherapeutic products, Recipharm said.

Arranta is also working to bring mRNA drug substance and drug product production “under one roof,” which should help save time and “hedge against supply chain challenges,” Recipharm pointed out.

As for Vibalogics, the virotherapy CDMO makes live viruses and viral vectors, including those for herpes, pox viruses, adenoviruses and other viral classes for cancer and other applications, Recipharm said. Vibalogics’ customers include Big Pharma companies, mid-sized biotechs and startups, Recipharm noted.

The double acquisition play comes right on the heels of Recipharm’s buyout of Portuguese CDMO Genlbet, which specializes in the production of biological clinical trial material and other viral vectors. The company didn’t reveal financial terms of that deal, either.

In addition, just before the Genlbet deal, Recipharm inked an agreement with an unnamed “Top 10” drugmaker to support vaccine manufacturing at its production facility in Kayserberg, France. Under that deal, Recipharm said it expects to hire more than 30 new employees over the next four years.

The Swedish CDMO is also building out a new fill-finish factory in Morocco in a bid to help Africa create “vaccine sovereignty.”