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Moderna agrees first acquisition for $85m

Published on 06/01/23 at 10:36am

After a pivotal few years, Moderna has agreed its first acquisition, worth $85m, which will allow the company access to cell-free DNA synthesis and amplification technologies. Moderna is set to acquire OriCiro Genomics K.K., gaining its expertise in DNA synthesis and amplification.

Now that the race to develop effective mRNA vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is all but over, many have wondered what is next for Moderna. The company seems to have turned to mergers and acquisitions, with Moderna set to purchase the Japanese DNA supplier as its first acquisition since its launch in 2010.

The purchase of OriCiro means that Moderna will no longer have to rely on the time-consuming process of E. coli cloning, which can take several days: OriCiro’s amplification process only takes hours. Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, estimates that this could reduce large-scale manufacturing time by up to 30%.

It is expected that Moderna will continue to acquire further companies in the future, likely a therapeutics company, although it looks like its focus will remain on nucleic acid. This could include gene therapy or editing companies, however the acquisition of biotechs focused on small molecules is unlikely.

Stéphane Bancel commented: “It’s faster product to clinic, faster product to market. And then the research part is: We can iterate much faster.” 

He continued, explaining that acquisitions in other areas of research “might be helpful for the sales next year or stuff like that, but we’re not solving for that. We’re solving for [the] best RNA company because we believe that science is going to generate, for this platform, so many medicines.”


Betsy Goodfellow

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