2023-11-14| Asia-PacificM&A

Ajinomoto to Acquire Forge Biologics for $620 Million to Boost Gene Therapy Capabilities

by Sinead Huang
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Ajinomoto Co., Inc. and Forge Biologics have officially entered a definitive agreement, marking a significant strategic move in the biotechnology sector. The Japanese firm, Ajinomoto Co., is set to acquire Forge Biologics, a prominent player in genetic medicines manufacturing, in an all-cash deal valued at $620 million.

Related article: Eli Lilly Expands Oncology Portfolio with $1.4 Billion Acquisition of POINT Biopharma

Forge Biologics’ Expertise and Growth Trajectory

Forge Biologics, renowned as a viral vector and plasmid contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and clinical-stage therapeutics company, has experienced remarkable growth since its establishment in 2020. The company operates from its custom-designed cGMP facility, the Hearth, located in Columbus, Ohio, spanning an impressive 200,000 square feet and employing over 300 individuals. Forge specializes in taking gene therapies from conceptualization to reality, making potentially life-changing treatments accessible.

Timothy J. Miller, Ph.D., CEO, President, and Co-founder of Forge, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, emphasizing their joint commitment to innovation and enabling global access to genetic medicines. The transaction aligns with Forge’s mission to expand capabilities and platforms, further benefiting clients and patients on a global scale.

Ajinomoto Co.’s Strategic Vision and Bio-Pharma Services Expansion

Ajinomoto Co. sees Forge Biologics as a transformative addition to its Healthcare division, aligning with the ASV Initiatives 2030 Roadmap. The acquisition brings a new dimension to Ajinomoto’s Bio-Pharma Services business, leveraging Forge’s unparalleled expertise in gene therapy development and manufacturing. Yasuyuki Otake, Corporate Executive and General Manager of the Bio-Pharma Services Department at Ajinomoto Co., emphasized the shared commitment to innovative solutions that create new value for communities and society.

The collaboration aims to enhance platform technologies, further realizing Ajinomoto’s overarching ‘Purpose’—contributing to the well-being of humanity, society, and the planet. The company is eager to integrate Forge’s talented team and state-of-the-art manufacturing facility into its global operations, fostering growth and innovation.

Closing the Deal and Future Prospects

The transaction is slated for completion by the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Upon finalization, Forge Biologics will transition into a fully consolidated subsidiary of Ajinomoto Co., Inc. This strategic move signifies Ajinomoto’s commitment to advancing its position in the biopharmaceutical industry and fostering innovation in genetic medicine development.

Chris Garabedian, Chairman and CEO of Xontogeny and Chairman of Forge’s Board of Directors, views this acquisition as a remarkable testament to Forge’s technical advancements, world-class facility, and experienced leadership. The biotech market is witnessing a notable step forward, emphasizing the importance of cutting-edge capabilities and the potential for impactful contributions to the biopharmaceutical landscape.

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