Abzena to raise $30M to buy another U.S. contract drug developer

Abzena, a U.K.-based pharma services company, appears to be on an acquisition tear of late, saying it plans to buy a second U.S.-based company in as many months.

The company announced plans to raise $30 million (£20 million) in a shares placement and use $15 million (£10 million) of those funds to buy The Chemistry Research Solution based in Philadelphia, which specializes in contract chemistry and bioconjugation.

In September, Abzena shelled out about $8.4 million, $7.7 million in cash and the remainder in warrants for shares, for San Diego-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) PacificGMP.

The Chemistry Research Solution deal, which is subject to closing conditions, not only gives Abzena a bicoastal presence in the U.S. and a focus on cancer therapies, but also creates new cross-selling opportunities for the company's antibody engineering and biopharmaceutical manufacturing services, the company said.

Abzena CEO John Burt

"By broadening our service and technology offering with the addition of TCRS to the group we are better placed to help our partners develop the next generation of cancer therapies--a fast growing market requiring specialist innovation and differentiation," John Burt, Abzena CEO, said in a statement.

Abzena's moves are a reflection of a larger trend of consolidations in the contract manufacturing world as players, both big and small, have been looking to add size, services and geographic reach to attract Big Pharma. Patheon, the quickly growing CDMO that is part of DPx, recently made a series of acquisitions that included deals for Agere Pharmaceuticals and IRIX Pharmaceuticals.

- check out Abzena's release