Catalent's new prize, Paragon, adding capacity to make Sarepta gene therapies

Paragon Bioservices
Catalent has completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of viral vector producer Paragon Bioservices. (Paragon Bioservices)

Catalent now owns gene therapy CDMO Paragon Bioservices, and with the $1.2 billion deal it gets a new long-term manufacturing agreement with gene therapy biotech Sarepta Therapeutics. As part of that relationship come plans to add manufacturing that will bring Paragon’s, and so Catalent’s, capacity to 425,000 square feet.

Catalent said Monday that it had completed the Paragon deal and in the process amended its credit agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank to obtain $950 million of incremental term loans and a $350 million increase to its revolving credit facility. It also issued $650 million in convertible preferred stock to funds affiliated with Leonard Green & Partners, adding a partner from that fund to its board in the process.

With the closing of the deal, Catalent will have the tools to handle projects in the rapidly expanding gene and cell therapy market. Paragon already has a manufacturing facility near the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., international airport that has several 500-liter and 2,000-liter single-use bioreactors able to manufacture clinical and commercial products.

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But last month, Paragon said it had leased a second building and that it and Sarepta were working on an expanded agreement with the potential for a joint venture to manufacture new gene therapy candidates in a dedicated facility using Sarepta's proprietary manufacturing protocols. 

In the announcement, Paragon said its new large-scale production campus and a newly leased second building, which will be built out for commercial GMP manufacturing, gives it the potential for more than 425,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The arrangement with Sarepta includes producing the biotech’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene therapy candidate.

As part of Sarepta’s “hybrid” manufacturing plan, it also has a long-term manufacturing agreement with Brammer Bio to make the DMD therapy. Brammer in March was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific in a $1.7 billion deal that positions it as a competitor with Catalent in the gene and cell therapy CDMO business.