Biomanufacturing player eureKING emerges with star-studded roster of Sanofi, Bayer vets in tow

A potential contract manufacturing force has risen across the Atlantic, conjured by a suite of biopharma veterans from Sanofi, Bayer and more.

EureKING—which is billing itself as the continent’s first biomanufacturing-focused special purpose acquisition company (SPAC)—launched Monday with plans to trade on the Euronext Paris exchange and raise €150 million ($158 million) to gobble up companies in Europe’s CDMO scene, multiple outlets have reported.

EureKING has already singled out roughly 40 CDMO targets that make biologics, cell and gene therapies or live biotherapeutics, Reuters first reported.

The company plans to list on Euronext with an offering of up to 15 million shares at 10 euros a pop and says it’s already in the early stages of the bidding process for a potential acquisition target, according to pharmaphorum.

Contract manufacturing juggernauts like Lonza, Boehringer Ingelheim, WuXi Biologics, Catalent and Samsung Biologics control a little more than a quarter of the CDMO market in the region, eureKING says, while the rest is divvied between more than a thousand companies.

Over the next few years, eureKING plans to absorb about three CDMOs that each make some 50 million euros a year in Europe, CEO Michael Kloss said, as quoted by Reuters.

Based on the size of the targets, eureKING is angling to build a group that reaches an enterprise level of about 1 billion euros, Kloss added.

The company wants to stand up a one-stop boutique manufacturing network for European biotechs, Reuters reports. Its potential clients may not need large batches of products and could otherwise be lost in the shuffle with big CDMOs, according to the news service.

Alongside Kloss, who is the former head of Panasonic Health, eureKING’s C-suite is decked out with a constellation of biopharma stars. Take for instance Gerard Le Fur—previously Sanofi’s CEO—who’s joined eureKING’s court as co-founder and chairman of the board.

Peter Eckenberg of Pacific Diabetes Technologies and Stefan Berchtold of PHC Holdings are also part of eureKING’s upper echelons and, like Kloss, had previous stints at German conglomerate Bayer.

The company’s co-founders also include Hubert Olivier, president and CEO of McKesson France and Belgium, plus Christophe Jean, who currently serves as a strategic partner at ORAXYS Private Equity and previously held roles at Ipsen and Novartis.

Also backing eureKING are investment firm eureKARE’s co-founder Alexandre Mouradian and CEO Rodolphe Besserve. EureKARE, for its part, is focused on developing synthetic biology and microbiome innovation across Europe, Endpoints News pointed out.

“Biotherapies and technological innovations from biopharmaceutical companies are destined to become key products in the treatment of many serious diseases for which no medical solution exists today,” Kloss said in a statement on eureKING’s website.  

Meanwhile, small- to midsized biotechs are not “well addressed by large CDMOs” and there’s a need on the continent for “local facilities and versatile structures for another listed player,” eureKING added.

EureKING plans to home in on three high growth areas: biologics, cell and gene therapy and live biotherapeutics.