Merck KGaA, a Germany-based pharmaceutical company, has announced plans to acquire Exelead, headquartered in Indianapolis. The biopharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing organization is going to be under the new ownership in a $780 million deal.
Belen Garjo, Merck Chief Executive Officer, says the acquisition is going to further enable the company to “capture the major potential of the fast-growing market for mRNA therapies” for use in COVID-19 and plus other diseases.
Specializing in liquid injectables is what Exelead does. This also includes Lipid Nanoparticle-based drug delivery technology. Merck plays the main factor in mRNA therapeutics. Also, the company does provide services in all development phases. This includes pre-clinical development to commercial contract manufacturing. It also features fill and finish.
Then last June, the company did announce. It had delivered its first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. There are plans to add up to 50 jobs.
“Our CDMO mRNA offering is based on Exelead’s capabilities and expertise,” said Matthias Heinzel, who is an executive board member at Merck. “In fact, this will very much decrease supply chain complexity. Thus the enhance speed-to-market to eventually accelerate access to life-enhancing therapeutics for the patients worldwide.”
Exelead – Major Employer in Indianapolis
More than 200 people are employed by Exelead. It is at its headquarters in Indianapolis. Also, Merck did not specify whether any jobs would in fact be affected by the acquisition.
Exelead did reveal detailed plans in 2019. It would be to invest $25 million to expand operations in Indianapolis. Also, Merck did say it does plan to further scale up operations in Indy.
Pending regulatory approval and customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in the first quarter.
COVID-19 Oral Pill
Merck’s COVID-19 oral pill molnupiravir does have a mechanism of action that can work against Omicron. Plus any other variant, a company executive did say on Monday.
“In fact, we are very confident it is going to affect Omicron. This mechanism in the molecule (will) work for Omicron, plus I would imagine against any variant that comes up,” Dean Li, president of Merck Research Laboratories, said at J.P. Morgan’s annual healthcare conference.
Moreover, the pill had received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month, as well as in several other countries like the UK, Japan, and India, with an array of countries including the U.S. signing agreements to buy the drug.