CDMO Ajinomoto forges ahead with Forge Biologics in $620M acquisition

With a $620 million buy, CDMO Ajinomoto is forging ahead with gene therapy specialist Forge Biologics under its wing.

The all-cash deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year's fourth quarter, the companies said in a release. Upon closing, Ajinomoto will acquire Forge’s 200,000-square-foot facility, referred to as "the Hearth," and its over 300 staffers in Columbus, Ohio, establishing it as a new subsidiary

“Our teams share a commitment to investing in innovation that helps our clients succeed in delivering therapies to patients in need,” Forge CEO and co-founder Timothy J. Miller, Ph.D., said. “We set out to build a company with a mission to enable access to life-changing discoveries, and this transaction will support us in advancing that mission into our next global stage of development to expand our capabilities and platform for the benefit of our clients and their patients.”

Founded in 2020, Forge, a viral vector and plasmid CDMO, secured $120 million in funding less than a year later from investors to expand capacity and triple its workforce. By then, the company already had more than two dozen potential customers, Miller said at the time.

In Monday's release, Yasuyuki Otake, the general manager of Ajinomoto’s biopharma services department, stated, "Forge’s unparalleled expertise in gene therapy development and manufacturing will be a transformative addition to our core growth area of Healthcare as part of our ASV Initiatives 2030 Roadmap."

The Japanese manufacturing behemoth’s roadmap looks to speed up growth through “strategic businesses” including medical food, cell culture mediums for regenerative medicine, ADCs and oligonucleotide drugs.  

“Forge brings to Ajinomoto an entirely new capability that will vitally enhance our Bio-Pharma Services business and help create new value through innovative solutions for communities and society,” Otake added.

Earlier this year, Forge signed on to offer its adeno-associated virus (AAV) process development, toxicology, manufacturing and analytical services to Life Bioscience and its gene therapy platform for age-related diseases.

Now, the company lists its offerings as scalable, end-to-end manufacturing services including process and analytical development, cGMP viral vector manufacturing, final fill, plasmid DNA manufacturing and consulting support on gene therapy programs from preclinical through commercial stage production.