DNA Molecular Structure
Credit: Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images

Entering the gene therapy field, Ajinomoto is acquiring Forge, a leading manufacturer of genetic medicines in an all-cash deal for about $554M. Forge provides end-to-end manufacturing services for gene therapy programs from preclinical through clinical and commercial manufacturing.

“Forge’s unparalleled expertise in gene therapy development and manufacturing will be a transformative addition to our core growth area of Healthcare as part of our ASV Initiatives 2030 Roadmap. Forge brings to Ajinomoto an entirely new capability that will vitally enhance our bio-pharma services business and help create new value through innovative solutions for communities and society,” said Yasuyuki Otake, corporate executive, general manager of bio-pharma services department of Ajinomoto Co.

The Medium-Term Ajinomoto ASV Initiatives 2030 Roadmap, announced in February this year, identified four strategic growth areas including Healthcare, leveraging the strengths of the company’s proprietary “AminoScience” platform. Within the healthcare area, in addition to the steady growth of its existing amino acid and small molecule drugs businesses, Ajinomoto expects to deliver accelerated growth through the expansion of its oligonucleotide drugs, biopharmaceutical CDMO, regenerative medicine and antibody culture media, medical food businesses and more.

Furthermore, Ajinomoto has identified gene therapy as one of its priority next-generation strategic businesses.

Forge is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) and clinical-stage therapeutics company. All of this work is done at the Hearth, the company’s 200,000 square foot custom-designed cGMP facility in Columbus, Ohio, where the business has over 300 employees.

“Forge has had remarkable growth since our founding in 2020, and we’re excited to join Ajinomoto Co., to continue to expand our global business of helping innovators manufacture much needed genetic medicines,” said Timothy J. Miller, PhD, CEO, president, and co-founder of Forge.

He added, “Our teams share a commitment to investing in innovation that helps our clients succeed in delivering therapies to patients in need. We set out to build a company with a mission to enable access to life-changing discoveries, and this transaction will support us in advancing that mission into our next global stage of development to expand our capabilities and platform for the benefit of our clients and their patients.”

Otake added that, “We look forward to working with Forge’s incredibly talented team and state-of-the-art specialized manufacturing facility to expand our platform technologies aimed to help realize Ajinomoto’s ‘Purpose’ of contributing to the well-being of all human beings, our society, and our planet.”

“This is a tremendous step to drive Forge’s next phase of growth that will maximize the impact they have on their mission for clients and patients,” said Chris Garabedian, chairman and CEO of Xontogeny and Chairman of Forge’s board of directors. “This acquisition in the current biotech market is a remarkable testament to the technical advancements, world-class facility, and experienced capable leadership at Forge.”

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter of 2023. Upon completion, Forge will become a fully consolidated subsidiary of Ajinomoto.

Also of Interest