FUJIFILM Completes Acquisition of Kalon Biotherapeutics

FUJIFILM has acquired Kalon Biotherapeutics of Texas, expanding the company's vaccine manufacturing capacity.

BPI Contributor

December 20, 2014

5 Min Read
FUJIFILM Completes Acquisition of Kalon Biotherapeutics

Acquisition Enhances Texas’ Growing Reputation as a Global Biotechnology Leader

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies U.S.A. Inc. (FDBU), a FUJIFILM Corporation subsidiary, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Kalon Biotherapeutics LLC, marking an important new chapter in the emergence of the Texas biosciences industry as a center for world-class development and manufacturing of life-saving biopharmaceuticals and biotechnology while providing FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies with expanded capacity for its growing vaccine capabilities.  The completion of the previously announced Purchase Interest Agreement of Kalon Biotherapeutics, LLC, was made with the owners of Kalon: the State of Texas, acting by and through the Office of the Governor, and The Texas A&M University System.  The announcement was made jointly today by Governor Rick Perry; officials of FUJIFILM Corporation, FDBU and Mitsubishi Corporation; Kalon Biotherapeutics LLC; and the Texas A&M System.  Going forward, the company is now known as FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies Texas, LLC.

“Healthcare business, above all, the pharmaceutical business, is one of Fujifilm’s focal areas,” said Shigehiro Nakajima, President & COO, FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation.  “This acquisition provides an important addition to our business, bringing together diverse capabilities and technical expertise in the area of biopharmaceuticals.”

“This acquisition further reinforces Fujifilm’s global leadership and commitment to the biopharmaceutical industry,” said Steve Bagshaw, CEO, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies. “Our scientific and manufacturing leadership will be strengthened by adding Kalon’s viral and cell culture vaccine expertise and capabilities to our existing competencies in microbial, mammalian and insect cell process development, analytics, and commercial production.”

“When we first created Kalon in 2011, we set out to change the world through the rapid production of life-saving vaccines and therapeutics. The vision and investment by the state of Texas and the Texas A&M System have been critical to Kalon’s success to date,” said Kalon Founding President Andrew Strong.  “Now, with the combined strength and capability of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, the world’s leading global biotechnology service company, and Kalon, I have no doubt that we are able to emphatically answer the world-wide call for the discovery, testing and manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics that can prevent diseases or cure the critically ill.”

Founded in 2011 by the A&M System, Kalon is a biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing organization (CMO) with advanced technologies and facilities. It is a key subcontractor to one of the three Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop and manufacture medical countermeasures to protect public health in emergencies, including incidents of bioterrorism or an outbreak of pandemic influenza. The State of Texas provided funding for the development and support of this center though the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a world leader in cGMP biologics manufacturing, is taking an ownership position in Kalon Biotherapeutics, allowing an expansion of Fujifilm’s capabilities to include viruses and viral/vaccine-based products and services. This investment will also provide leveraged biotechnology workforce recruitment to Texas and drive the state’s expansion in biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals.

Texas has a dynamic biotechnology marketplace that yields an estimated annual economic impact of $75 billion. In 2013, one out of every fifteen U.S. biotechnology establishments was located in Texas. The establishment and growth of the biotech industry in Texas is largely due to the vision and leadership of the A&M System, with the support of Governor Rick Perry. Under Texas A&M System’s leadership, the Bryan-College Station region has become a premier biotech location and international leader in all three areas of discovery, combining plant, animal and human scientific breakthroughs. Biotech companies from across the globe are utilizing the infrastructure pipeline at the A&M System and the surrounding corridor for speed-to-market services.

“Today’s signing represents an important next step and an exciting new chapter for the State of Texas, which is fast becoming a global leader in biotechnology and pharmaceutical manufacturing,” Gov. Perry said. “The Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing is at the forefront of an exciting new method to produce life-saving treatments and vaccines, and I’m proud of the role the state has played in helping shape Texas into America’s ‘Third Coast’ in biotechnology.”

Per the Interest Purchase Agreement, FDBU acquired 49 percent of the total membership interests in Kalon, and will be entitled to appoint a majority of Kalon’s board members. Hereafter, FDBU may increase its interest share up to 100 percent, based on achievement of certain milestones. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies will support current Kalon operations at the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing and a pandemic vaccine manufacturing facility currently under construction. The Kalon innovative facility design utilizes state-of-the-art mobile clean rooms that can be operated independently or in various paired arrangements to meet customer project needs. The acquisition will expand FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ leadership in applying most advanced single-use technology to include high-containment biomanufacturing capabilities. Further, it safeguards continued close business collaboration between the A&M System and the State of Texas to ensure maximum support for customer programs coming to the Kalon facilities.

“This acquisition proves the tremendous value of public-private partnerships, and the importance of creating an environment in which they can succeed,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “The State of Texas and the A&M System are delivering on a joint promise to help businesses develop and to create jobs. I applaud the Texas A&M System Board of Regents for their unwavering support in building Kalon and positioning it for this transaction.”

An event to commemorate the deal-closing, including the signing of a proclamation, will be held today at the George H.W. Bush Library in College Station, Texas, attended by Governor Rick Perry; John Sharp, Chancellor, Texas A&M University System; Shigehiro Nakajima, President & COO, FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation; Yasuyuki Sugiura, President & CEO, Mitsubishi Corporation Americas; and Nozomu Takaoka, Japan’s Consul General in Houston.

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