Merck announced the acquisition of AmpTec, a Germany-based, mRNA contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO). The deal adds to Merck’s capabilities to develop and manufacture mRNA for use in vaccines, treatments and diagnostics applicable in COVID-19 and many other diseases. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The success of mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19 lays the path to accelerate the development of these therapeutics for many other diseases. By combining AmpTec’s PCR-based mRNA technology with Merck’s extensive expertise in lipids manufacturing, we are able to provide a truly differentiated and integrated offering across the mRNA value chain, which will significantly decrease supply chain complexity and enhance speed-to-market. This transaction is another important step to support the constant growth of our life science business through tailored, small-scale acquisitions with high impact,” said Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck.
Lipids, which are part of the SAFC portfolio in Merck’s Life Science business sector, constitute one of the critical components for the formulation of mRNA therapeutics including COVID-19 vaccines. Merck is collaborating with more than 50 vaccine manufacturers – some of which use mRNA for their products – to support their efforts in the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and services.
PCR technology is another important component of mRNA manufacturing. AmpTec uses a differentiated PCR-based technology for mRNA manufacturing, which reportedly offers several advantages in homogeneity, purity, activity and flexibility thereby improving quality performance. It also provides flexible capping options to reach specific performance requirements.
In addition to specialising in mRNA technology, AmpTec has a diagnostics business that produces customised long RNAs and DNAs for in vitro diagnostics. It will complement Merck’s diagnostics business, which specialises in providing critical raw materials, components and services for in vitro diagnostics manufacturers.
Merck is continuing to invest in mRNA as a modality and will scale up this technology both at AmpTec’s existing site in Hamburg and at Merck’s global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.