Companies strike trans-Pacific manufacturing and development agreement

In an effort to expand into life sciences, Tokyo-based JSR, a materials producer with 5,500 employees, has announced its intention to acquire Durham, NC-based contract manufacturer KBI Biopharma.

Tokyo-based CMIC Holdings and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) will also invest in the deal, but when the acquisition is complete, JSR will hold the majority interest.

JSR and CMIC have agreed to jointly develop and design processes and materials for pharmaceutical manufacturing, stating in a release that the global market is projected to grow to $8.3 billion in 2024. The companies said the KBI acquisition will "contribute greatly to the project's success." They will tap INCJ's contact network of industry, academia and government in Japan. Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed.

JSR uses a polymer technology to make synthetic rubbers and resins, emulsions, semiconductor materials and display materials. It plans to expand its business globally with an emphasis on life sciences and lithium ion capacitors.

"We will look to KBI to enhance our bioprocess product development and increase our understanding of the market in general," JSR President Mitsunobu Koshiba said in a release.

KBI has plants in North Carolina and Colorado. It purchased its Boulder, CO, plant from Merck ($MRK) in May 2014 for $130 million, bringing into its operation the ability to provide microbial development and manufacturing up to a scale of 1500 L. For Merck, the facility had been used for analytical and technical support for its biologics pipeline.

- here's the release