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Biotechnology News Magazine

MilliporeSigma Announces Closing of Exelead Acquisition

Company Plans to Invest More Than € 500 Million in Technology Scale-Up

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MilliporeSigma, the U.S. and Canada Life Science business sector of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced the closing of the transaction to acquire Exelead, following regulatory clearances and the fulfillment of other customary closing conditions, for approximately USD 780 million in cash.

The business combination is expected to enable the Life Science business to provide its customers with comprehensive end-to-end contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) services across the mRNA value chain. The Life Science business plans to further invest over € 500 million to scale up Exelead’s technology over the next ten years.

“With the addition of Exelead’s leading capabilities and highly experienced team, our Life Science business achieves an important milestone in becoming one of the leading CDMO players in mRNA vaccines and therapeutics, offering an integrated CDMO across the mRNA value chain from pre-clinical to commercial,” said Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and CEO Life Science. “mRNA holds much promise as a treatment well beyond Covid-19 and we will further invest in this technology to help realize its potential.”

Exelead, a biopharmaceutical CDMO, specializes in PEGylated products and complex injectable formulations, including Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) based drug delivery technology, which is key in mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for use in Covid-19 and many other indications. The company has experience in all development phases from pre-clinical development to commercial contract manufacturing for LNP formulations, including fill and finish. Exelead will complement the Life Science business sector’s more than 20 years’ experience in producing lipids as well as its mRNA manufacturing capabilities acquired through AmpTec in 2020. This integrated offering will accelerate the Life Science business sector’s ability to bring life-enhancing vaccines and treatments to patients faster by simplifying supply chain complexity and enhancing speed to market through its end-to-end portfolio.

Over the past two years, the Life Science business sector has made significant investments to advance traditional and novel modalities (mAb, ADC, HP-API, viral vector, and mRNA) through acquisitions and expansions. The acquisition of Exelead is another milestone to accelerate innovation in the company’s Process Solutions and Life Science Services businesses, one of the company’s three growth engines (“Big 3”), through targeted smaller to medium-sized acquisitions with high impact.

About the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has more than 23,000 employees and 59 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics.

Around 58,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2020, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany generated sales of € 17.5 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. For more information about Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, visit

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