Merck KGaA to acquire Exelead

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

January 10, 2022 -- Merck has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Exelead, a biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), for approximately$780 million in cash.

Exelead specializes in complex injectable formulations, including lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-based drug delivery technology that is key in mRNA therapeutics for use in COVID-19 and many other indications. The acquisition of Exelead will accelerate innovation in the process solutions business unit of Merck, according to the firm. The transaction enhances the company's years of experience in producing lipids, a critical component in the formulation of mRNA therapeutics, including COVID-19 vaccines, as well as its mRNA manufacturing capabilities.

Exelead has more than 10 years of experience in all development phases from preclinical development to commercial contract manufacturing for LNP formulations, including fill and finish. Merck intends to continue to invest in mRNA as a modality and will scale this technology at Exelead's existing site in Indianapolis.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022 and is subject to regulatory clearances, as well as the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

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