Paragon Bioservices, a Baltimore-based contract biologic drug manufacturer, would be acquired for $1.2 billion cash under a bid announced Monday by Catalent Inc.
Paragon produces so-called viral vectors, a delivery system for gene therapies, for biotech and pharmaceutical clients. Gene therapy is a fast-growing area of heath care. It also produces vaccines, oncology immunotherapies, therapeutic proteins and other complex biologics.
Catalent, based in Somerset, N.J., reported that Paragon is expected to bring in more than $200 million in revenue this year, based on signed contracts. Officials expected Paragon, an industry leader, to exceed the 25 percent growth expected in the gene therapy market in the medium term.
“Our existing investors, NewSpring Health Capital and Camden Partners, were extremely supportive in getting us to where we are today,” Paragon President and CEO Pete Buzy said in a statement. “We are excited to join forces with the leading drug development and manufacturing partner in our industry. This transaction will enable us to achieve our next stage of development and expand our capabilities and platform for the benefit of our customers and their patients.”
Paragon recently opened a new production facility near Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where it expects to employ more than 200 people. It has headquarters and other production operations in the University of Maryland BioPark in West Baltimore where it already employs about 350 people.
“Paragon’s unparalleled expertise in the rapidly growing market of gene therapy manufacturing will be a transformative addition to our business that we believe will accelerate our long-term growth,” said John Chiminski, Catalent’s chair and CEO, in a statement. “Paragon brings to Catalent a complementary capability that will fundamentally enhance our biologics business and our end-to-end integrated biopharmaceutical solutions for customers.”
The deal is expected to close before the end of June.
Paragon also announced Tuesday that it was exploring forming a partnership in gene therapy manufacturing with Sarepta Therapeutics Inc., a precision genetic medicine maker for rare diseases. The pair will seek to establish a dedicated facility for manufacturing Sarepta’s gene therapy candidates.
Paragon was founded in 1990 by Marco Chacron, a life sciences researcher, who remains on its board as chairman.