Ajinomoto jumps into gene therapy CDMO space through $620m Forge buy

Ajinomoto will acquire Forge Biologics in an all-cash $620 million deal set to strengthen its CDMO capabilities in CGT space.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

November 15, 2023

2 Min Read
Ajinomoto jumps into gene therapy CDMO space through $620m Forge buy
c/o Forge Biologics

Ajinomoto will acquire Forge Biologics in an all-cash $620 million deal set to strengthen its CDMO capabilities and propel it in the cell and gene therapy (CGT) space. 

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of Q4 2023 and is pending regulatory approvals, upon the completion of which Forge will become a fully consolidated subsidiary of Ajinomoto.  

“Ajinomoto, a global CDMO [contract development and manufacturing organization] already well established in the biologic space, aims to enter the gene therapy space, and that’s where Forge will come in to play. The goal is to close the deal by the end of the year, by integrating our team and our services into their broader network,” John Maslowski, CCO at Forge Biologics told BioProcess Insider


c/o Forge Biologics

Upon closing, Ajinomoto will acquire Forge’s 200,000-square-foot cGMP facility, referred to as “the Hearth,” in Columbus, Ohio, which employees over 300 workers.  

“We will be a subsidiary to the parent company Ajinomoto, but will be running as the same team, and obviously working directly with the team on the biopharma signed at Ajinomoto. Our people are the infrastructure that we built on, therefore, our facility at Columbus, Ohio and our team was really a big part of why Ajinomoto chose Forge. We also be bringing over our really experienced leadership team to contribute to their vision,” said Maslowski. 

In February 2023, Ajinomoto announced four strategic growth areas, one of which was healthcare. In addition to the steady growth of its existing CDMO businesses, the multinational identified gene therapies as one of its priority next-generation strategic businesses, functioning as a steppingstone to growth in advanced modalities. 

“Ajinomoto has a wonderful commercial infrastructure and research capabilities with worldwide reach, something we’ve always been very interested in aspiring to do. They enter CGT manufacturing through Forge and that is the benefit of this deal. This agreement brings stability for Forge with a partner like Ajinomoto who has no going concern situation to eliminate.” 

Founded in 2020, Forge Biologics is a viral vector and plasmid contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and clinical-stage therapeutics company, enabling access to potentially life-changing gene therapies by bringing them from concept to reality. 

The firm has been involved in raising funds to expand its AAV capacity in the past raising $120 million, led by RA Capital Management, Octagon Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), and Marshall Wace. Recently, the CDMO joined CIRM’s Industry Resource Partner Program to manufacture adeno-associated adenovirus (AAV) vectors to accelerate gene therapy programs.    

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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