NEW YORK — A private equity firm headquartered in Sweden has agreed to acquire a majority interest in Fargo-based Aldevron.
Global investment firm EQT announced the agreement Wednesday, July 31.
The dollar amount of the deal was not announced. However, the deal will provide Aldevron the financial backing it needs to expand production, research and development, as well as for other growth opportunities, EQT said in a news release.
In June, Aldevron announced that it planned a major expansion of its Fargo campus that would increase its biotechnology production capacity tenfold, quintuple its warehouse space and create a research and development center.
EQT said it expects the transaction to close by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval.
Aldevron is a global supplier of plasmid DNA for commercial, clinical and research-stage cell and gene therapies. It also supplies proteins, antibodies and mRNA.
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Aldevron’s founders and management, as well as private equity firm TA Associates, will retain a minority interest in the firm, EQT said.
Aldevron was founded in 1998 by CEO Michael Chambers and John Ballantyne.
In addition to its Fargo presence, Aldevron also has operations in Madison, Wis., and Freiburg, Germany. The firm employs about 400 people worldwide and serves more than 4,800 clients, including leading academic and research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
“We’re very proud of what Aldevron has accomplished over the past two decades. We remain committed to our clients and their work, and to our mission — to develop and manufacture biologics at the highest quality that help make meaningful changes, worldwide,” Chambers said in the news release. "EQT shares our strong values and commitment to excellence and we believe their significant healthcare experience, global presence and industrial network make them an ideal partner as we continue our growth journey.”
Eric Liu, a partner at EQT Partners, said Aldevron is uniquely positioned as a critical supplier in the gene therapy market.
Aldevron "helps its clients deliver leading-edge therapies that address previously incurable medical conditions and improve patient lives around the world,” Liu said. “We are excited to partner with Michael and his team to further develop Aldevron and invest in the Fargo community in these exciting times.”
EQT boasts 61 billion euros in raised capital across 29 funds and about 40 billion euros in assets under management. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the U.S. with total sales of more than 21 billion euros and approximately 127,000 employees.
Aldevron serves the biotechnology industry with custom production of nucleic acids, proteins and antibodies. Thousands of clients use Aldevron-produced plasmids, RNA and gene editing enzymes for research, clinical trials and commercial applications.
Construction on the first phase of the expansion Aldevron announced in June will begin in August on the firm’s 14-acre campus in southwest Fargo. That announcement came less than 10 months after the firm opened a new $30 million, 70,000-square-foot headquarters.
The first of three planned new buildings, which together will occupy 189,000 square feet and connect to the existing building, is planned to be operational by the first quarter of 2021. All four buildings will be connected and ultimately house more than 1,000 employees, Chambers said.
The three new buildings will be built “in the coming years,” Chambers said. No dollar estimate for the expansion project was available. The campus is located near the intersection of 40th Avenue South and 42nd Street South.
Aldevron provides plasmids, gene-editing enzymes and other biologics to support clinical and commercial applications, Chambers said.
Biologic drugs are produced from living organisms or contain components of living organisms derived from human, animal or microorganisms through biotechnology. Plasmid DNA is a form of DNA that is the base material for use in research and clinical laboratories engaged in gene and cell therapy, gene editing and other fields.
Two years ago, the privately held Aldevron announced that it has financial backing from TA Associates, a major private equity firm headquartered in Boston.