Protagen Protein Services (PPS) announced that it will merge with GeneWerk, an Ampersand portfolio company. With the addition of GeneWerk’s unique capabilities in vector safety, characterization, and functionality analysis, PPS will complement its current analytical testing offering in protein characterization identity, purity, potency and capsid loading to become a full-service partner in gene therapy testing for the biopharmaceutical industry.
The announced merger creates a leading partner for the worldwide biopharmaceutical industry to benefit from the most advanced, integrated set of analytical services capabilities in biologic development, especially in gene and cell therapy-related testing, from early development through drug approval to commercialization. The combined organization will have more than 175 employees across four sites in Europe and North America.
“The combination of Protagen Protein Services (PPS) and GeneWerk will establish a leading, analytical CRO serving the most thriving and innovative therapeutic segments within the global biopharmaceutical industry. We are excited to join forces with the GeneWerk team, who have established unique, worldwide excellence in cell and gene therapy and helped to establish the industry standard of integration site analysis for all vector delivery systems,” outlined Martin Blüggel, CEO Protagen Protein Services GmbH.
“We are impressed by PPS’ scientific background and are eager to join with our scientific excellence. By integrating our analytic platforms, programs and expertise with PPS, we look forward to working closely with premier biopharmaceutical companies to design, generate and deliver integrated, best-in-class analytical data packages and strategic support along the full development spectrum from developability, lead optimization, clone selection and process development to vector safety, gene editing targets, sequence analysis and gene expression,” commented Dr. Manfred Schmidt, Managing Director and Co-Founder of GeneWerk GmbH.
As part of today’s announcement, PPS noted that it plans to significantly expand the laboratory capabilities of its US subsidiary BioAnalytix to include GeneWerk’s technology platforms and analytical capabilities in order to better serve clients located in the Boston area biotechnology hub and elsewhere in North America. Such service capabilities will include the determination of fusion sequences adjacent to known DNA or RNA fragments in minimal tissue samples down to the single cell level.
To support the integration and future growth of the combined business, PPS also announced that Ampersand Capital Partners has acquired a majority ownership stake in PPS from Zukunftsfond Heilbronn, PPS’s initial private equity investor.
Marina Pellon-Consunji, Partner at Ampersand Capital Partners, stated: “We have been looking for the right opportunity to expand the capabilities of our portfolio company GeneWerk. We are proud to partner with the PPS team and look forward to helping further build a leading provider of innovative, scientifically-differentiated testing and analytical services for large molecule therapeutics, particularly in the rapidly-growing cell and gene therapy industry.”
About Protagen Protein Services GmbH (PPS)
Protagen Protein Services (PPS) is a world leading CRO and recognized expert in analytical services in protein science and gene therapy products. Over 20 years of market experience and the comprehensive spectrum of validated analytical methods ensure the highest quality for customers in the pharmaceutical, biotech and life science industry. The company is an excellent partner for the biopharmaceutical industry worldwide to benefit from the most advanced, integrated and complete analytic services capabilities and platforms in biopharmaceutical development, from clone selection through drug approval to commercialization. In working together with their pharmaceutical partners, the PPS teams generate best-in-class analytic data packages and provide scientific, technical and regulatory support to advance, de-risk and accelerate all stages of biopharmaceutical development by all-in-one-hand service with complete documentation and outstanding project management to gain market success. – www.protagenproteinservices.com
About GeneWerk GmbH
Founded in 2014 by Prof. Dr. Christof von Kalle, Dr. Manfred Schmidt, and Dr. Annette Deichmann with the participation of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg, GeneWerk is a cell and gene therapy testing laboratory focused on providing preclinical and clinical trial patient sample analysis services. The company is recognized as a leading provider of vector integration site analysis (ISA) services, a method that was developed by the company’s founders and that the FDA and EMA recommend performing after the administration of both integrating and non-integrating cell and gene therapies. – www.genewerk.com
About Ampersand Capital Partners
Founded in 1988, Ampersand is a middle market private equity firm with more than $2 billion of assets under management dedicated to growth-oriented investments in the healthcare sector. With offices in Boston and Amsterdam, Ampersand leverages its unique blend of private equity and operating experience to build value and drive superior long-term performance alongside its portfolio company management teams. Ampersand has helped build numerous market-leading companies across each of the firm’s core healthcare sectors. Additional information about Ampersand is available at www.ampersandcapital.com.
About zfhn Zukunftsfonds Heilbron
Since its foundation in 2005, the zfhn Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn has been one of the major venture capital providers in Germany. It primarily supports young, innovative technology companies that are located in the Heilbronn area or are prepared to settle there in the short to medium term. The zfhn is privately financed and endowed with equity capital in the three-digit million range. It supports companies with capital, know-how and contacts in the Heilbronn economic region. The aim is to develop Heilbronn into a highly successful technology location. This also includes the establishment and expansion of clusters (MedTech, BioTech, CleanTech). – www.zf-hn.de