Moderna takes another expansion step, snapping up Japanese mRNA company

Taking advantage of the vast cash pile generated by the success of its COVID-19 vaccine Spikevax, US mRNA therapeutics and vaccines specialist Moderna (Nasdaq: MRNA) today announced its first out-right acquisition since its launch in 2020.

Moderna revealed that it has reached an agreement to acquire Tokyo, Japan-based start-up OriCiro Genomics, a pioneer in cell-free DNA synthesis and amplification technologies, for $85 million.

"With this acquisition, we obtain best-in-class tools for cell-free synthesis and amplification of plasmid DNA, a key building block in mRNA manufacturing," said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, adding: "OriCiro's technology strategically complements our manufacturing expertise and further accelerates our research and development engine. We look forward to welcoming the OriCiro team to Moderna."

With a broader objective, Mr Bancel said he wants Moderna to be “the best mRNA platform,” and “we really want to look around the world.”

"Moderna has demonstrated remarkable speed and ability to impact lives through their innovative platform and mRNA therapeutics. I am confident that our technology and talent will be a highly strategic fit with Moderna," said Nasir Kato Bashiruddin, chief executive of OriCiro.

"We are thrilled to join forces with Moderna to realize the full power of OriCiro for the benefit of patients," added Seiji Hirasaki, president and co-founder of OriCiro.

OriCiro's proprietary technologies are positioned to unlock and expedite the possibilities of advanced therapeutics and synthetic biology by providing a powerful tool to be used for research, development and manufacturing of plasmid DNA, the company noted. ...continue reading

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