- German drug discovery company Evotec intends to buy Just Biotherapeutics for as much as $90 million, gaining key technology for the development of biologics and an expanded footprint in Seattle.
- The agreement includes an upfront payment of $60 million and potential earnouts over the following three years, Evotec said in a May 20 statement.
- The companies expect the deal to close in the second quarter. Just Bio CEO James Thomas will become the global head of biotherapeutics and president of U.S. operations at Evotec.
Evotec and other pharmaceutical industry providers are increasingly setting their sights on the growing demand for biologics. Just Bio's technology includes a computer-aided design tool that helps select the best molecules for development, as well as tools to quickly develop and optimize manufacturing.
"Broadening our platform into biologics has always been key to our strategy," Evotec CEO Werner Lanthaler said in the company’s statement. "With this acquisition we finally found the perfect match to complement our leadership in small molecules."
Evotec has already been growing with acquisitions and research and development agreements with major drugmakers. Last year, the company announced drug discovery deals with the French pharma Sanofi and U.S. biotech Celgene, which is now in the process of being bought by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
In previous years, Evotec acquired Aptuit, which works on drug development from early discovery to mid-stage testing, for $300 million. It also snagged the contract research organization Cyprotex for 62 million euros, or about $67 million.
Evotec isn't alone in buying up competitors; CROs have been consolidating as demand for their services grows.
The company said its latest deal with Just Bio will add to revenue growth. Potential guidance updates may come by the time first-half earnings are reported, according to Evotec.
Just Bio will be fully integrated as part of its buyer. Cash payments will be made to the group of institutional investors in the company, ARCH Venture Partners, Merck & Co., Lilly Asia Ventures and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.