Japanese food and biotechnology company Ajinomoto has agreed to acquire US-based gene therapies manufacturer Forge Biologics in an all-cash deal worth $620m.

Established in 2020, Forge is a contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) focused on viral vectors and plasmids and clinical-stage therapeutics.

The company is dedicated to AAV manufacturing with 20 custom-designed cGMP suites at its 200,000ft2 custom-designed facility in Columbus, Ohio, which has more than 300 employees.

It offers manufacturing services, including process and analytical development, cGMP viral vector manufacturing, final fill, and plasmid DNA manufacturing.

The CDMO also provides regulatory consulting support to advance gene therapy programmes from preclinical through clinical and commercial stage manufacturing.

The acquisition of Forge Biologics is expected to extend Ajinomoto’s AAV and plasmid gene therapy manufacturing capabilities, while diversifying and strengthening its current contract development and manufacturing services.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Upon closing of the acquisition, Forge will become a fully owned subsidiary of Ajinomoto.

Centerview Partners served as the lead financial advisor, Ice Miller served as legal advisor, and Chardan Capital Markets provided financial advice to Forge, on the transaction.

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

“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.”

Ajinomoto bio-pharma services department general manager, corporate executive Yasuyuki Otake said: “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.

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