We look at how a Maravai acquisition may bolster Sartorius’ biopharma arsenal through a robust nucleic acid business.

Dan Stanton, Managing editor

March 1, 2022

2 Min Read
Maravai LifeSciences: $11bn+ would deliver Sartorius a nucleic acid unit
Image: Stock Photo Secrets

According to media reports, Sartorius is looking to buy Maravai LifeSciences. We look at how such an acquisition may bolster Sartorius’ biopharma arsenal through a robust nucleic acid business.

A Reuters exclusive last week claimed Sartorius made an offer to buy fellow life science vendor Maravai for $42 per share, or roughly $11 billion. The offer was allegedly rebuffed, according to sources close to the matter.

Maravai provides products and services to enable the development and manufacture of drug therapies, diagnostics, and vaccines. For the full year 2021, the firm reported sales of $799 million, a 181% increase on the previous year.

While $68 million of this came from biologics safety testing and a further $19 million from protein detection, Maravai’s biggest business – and one where Sartorius does not significantly play in – is nucleic acid production. The sector has been boosted by the advent of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (the Pfizer/BioNtech jab is supported directly by Maravai) and through its subsidiaries TriLink BioTechnologies and Glen Research, nucleic acid services pulled in $712 million last year (up 245% year-on-year) for Maravai.

With its proprietary CleanCap mRNA co-transcriptional capping technology, TriLink offers contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) services for the synthesis of nucleic acids, NTPs and mRNA capping analogs. The business was acquired by Maravai in 2016, and several investments since have upped the capability to produce quantities of mRNA material into the 50 to 100 kg range from its facility in San Diego, California.

Glen Research, meanwhile, was acquired in 2018 and provides Maravai’s customers with a portfolio of reagents used in the synthesis of DNA and RNA.

And in January, Maravai boosted its mRNA technologies further by paying $240 million for MyChem, a synthetic nucleotide manufacturer described by Maravai’s senior management as sitting “right in our sweet spot” on a recent financial call.

For 2022, Maravai’s revenue guidance is between $920 million and $960 million.

When contacted by us, Sartorius refused to comment on the acquisition rumors. But if it is indeed looking to add Maravai, it would follow its peers into the oligonucleotide and mRNA space. Recently MilliporeSigma has upped its offering in the sector through the addition of both German CDMO AmpTec and the $780 million acquisition of Exelead. Danaher Corporation, meanwhile, increased its lipid service offerings through the acquisition of Precision Nanosystems (PNI) in June last year.

MAravai told us its policy is not to comment on market rumors or speculation.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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