Danaher Corp. agreed to buy Aldevron for $9.6 billion in cash, snapping up a closely held company that makes the building blocks of vaccines and other products.
Fargo, North Dakota-based Aldevron makes plasmid DNA, mRNA and proteins for research, clinical and commercial applications, Danaher said in a statement Thursday. Danaher’s shares were up 5.3 percent at $257.68 at 3:44 p.m. in New York trading. The stock was up 10 percent this year through Wednesday.
MRNA technology is behind the successful coronavirus vaccines from the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE partnership and Moderna Inc., and scientists are increasingly testing the technology for use against other diseases as well.
“This acquisition will expand our capabilities into the important field of genomic medicine and help us support our customers and their critical mission to bring more life-saving therapies and vaccines to market faster,” Danaher chief executive officer Rainer Blair said in the statement.
Aldevron, with 600 employees, will be a standalone operating company in Danaher’s life sciences segment, the company said.
Jonathan Palmer, Bloomberg Intelligence health-care analyst said, “This bid showcases how Danaher’s Cytiva business established a beachhead in the high-growth biologic production markets, a position it’s now leveraging and that will boost long-term growth. This adds a suite of highly complementary plasmid, protein and mRNA products that was to have $1 billion in production capacity when a three-year site build-out was done. We expect the return profile to mirror past successes.”
Aldevron’s private equity backer, EQT AB, will also see a windfall from the deal. The company was valued at more than $3 billion, including debt, when EQT invested in 2019.
Eric Liu, partner and global co-head of healthcare at EQT, said in a statement that Aldevron is integral to the development of new types of therapies for previously uncurable medical conditions.
“We look forward to following the next phase of Aldevron’s growth,” Liu said.
Morgan Stanley and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP advised Aldevron.