Novo Holdings, beefing up in manufacturing, buys majority stake in pharma tools company

Novo Holdings has made another investment in biopharma manufacturing, as its key portfolio company, Novo Nordisk, looks to bolster production for its sought-after diabetes and weight-loss drugs.

The Danish holdings and investment firm has inked a deal to acquire a majority stake in Single Use Support, a provider of tools and services for drug substance production.

For an undisclosed price, Novo Holdings will take over about 60% of Single Use Support, the companies said Wednesday. The life sciences conglomerate Danaher will retain 20% of ownership in Single Use Support, and its two founders equally split the rest.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, comes as Novo Holdings faces a protracted wait for U.S. antitrust clearance for its closely watched $16.5 billion buyout of CDMO giant Catalent. 

Founded in 2017 in Austria, Single Use Support, as its name suggests, specializes in single-use technologies for fluid medicinal products, including biological drug substances, bioconjugates, cell and gene therapies and mRNA vaccines. The company provides services around primary packaging, single-use protection, freeze-thaw processes, filling and filtration, as well as logistics, according to its website.

The Austrian firm touts “leading pharma companies, biotech companies and CDMOs” among its customers. The CDMO Lonza is listed as one of Single Use Support’s clients on the latter firm’s website.

“This transaction marks an important and complementary addition to our fast-growing life science tools & diagnostics portfolio and represents our first control investment in the DACH region, a vital hub for life sciences,” Johan Hueffer, senior partner of principal investments at Novo Holdings, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Novo Holdings is joining us at a crucial moment as we prepare to further strengthen our global footprint, focusing on markets outside of Europe such as the US and Asia, and to engage with new customers,” Single Use Support CEO Christian Praxmarer said in a statement.

Unlike Novo Holdings’ Catalent deal, through which Novo Nordisk will gain three fill-finish sites, it’s not immediately clear whether Single Use Support will directly benefit the Danish biopharma company. The Austrian contractor’s offerings appear to be a natural fit, given that two of Novo’s popular semaglutide products—diabetes med Ozempic and weight-loss therapy Wegovy—are presented as fluids.

Novo Holdings didn’t immediately reply to a Fierce Pharma inquiry.

Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk has been busy increasing production capacity for Ozempic and Wegovy. Besides the pending purchase of the three Catalent plants, Novo in November said it will shell out more than 42 billion Danish kroner ($6 billion) to expand its manufacturing facilities in Kalundborg, Denmark. The majority of the money will be used to increase the capacity of active pharmaceutical ingredients, including semaglutide.

Despite some heavy investments in manufacturing, Novo doesn’t expect it will be able to meet global demand in the short or medium term, CFO Karsten Munk Knudsen recently told Bloomberg.