Merck, through its life science business MilliporeSigma, has acquired AmpTec, a German mRNA contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO), for an undisclosed amount.

With the acquisition, Merck is expected to strengthen its capabilities in developing and manufacturing mRNA for use in therapies, vaccines, and diagnostics of several diseases.

AmpTec leverages a differentiated PCR-based technology, an important component of mRNA manufacturing.

The technology is said to offer advantages including homogeneity, purity, activity and flexibility, compared to other manufacturing technologies.

Also, AmpTec’s PCR technology would offer improved performance and flexible capping options to meet specific performance requirements, said the company.

AmpTec managing director and founder Guido Krupp said: “Last year, AmpTec celebrated its fifteenth anniversary, and this acquisition marks an exciting new chapter for our company.

“AmpTec’s more than 40 employees are thrilled to join Merck and are confident that our PCR-based technology and combined expertise will allow us to offer customers innovative technologies, products and services to help advance life-enhancing therapeutics.”

Apart from the advanced mRNA technology, AmpTec also has a diagnostics business specialised in providing customised long RNAs and DNAs for in vitro diagnostics.

The company said that its diagnostics business will complement Merck’s diagnostics operations, focused on critical raw materials, components and services for in vitro diagnostics manufacturers.

Merck said that its molecular materials portfolio includes customised and predesigned DNA oligos and probes for different applications including PCR, NGS (next-generation sequencing) and microarray production.

Also, lipids in the company’s SAFC portfolio comprise one of the important components for the formulation of mRNA therapeutics including Covid-19 vaccines.

Merck said that it is collaborating with more than 50 vaccine manufacturers to support the development and production of Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and services.

Furthermore, the company is expected to invest in mRNA modality and scale up the technology both at AmpTec’s existing site in Hamburg and at Merck’s global headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

Merck executive board and CEO chairman Stefan Oschmann said: “The success of mRNA-based vaccines for Covid-19 lays the path to accelerate the development of these therapeutics for many other diseases.

“By combining AmpTec’s PCR-based mRNA technology with Merck’s extensive expertise in lipids manufacturing, we are able to provide a truly differentiated and integrated offering across the mRNA value chain, which will significantly decrease supply chain complexity and enhance speed-to-market.

“This transaction is another important step to support the constant growth of our Life Science business through tailored, small-scale acquisitions with high impact.”

In November 2020, Merck has agreed to acquire VelosBio, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, for a consideration of $2.75bn.