Ajinomoto Group Acquires All Shares of GeneDesign, a Nucleic Acid Drug CDMO, to Accelerate Expansion of the Contract Business for Oligonucleotides.


TOKYO, December 9th 2016 - Ajinomoto Co., Inc. ("Ajinomoto Co.") and its consolidated subsidiary S.A. Ajinomoto OmniChem N.V. ("OmniChem") agreed to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of GeneDesign, Inc., a major Japanese contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO1) for nucleic acid drugs, and signed a share purchase and sale agreement today. With this acquisition, Ajinomoto Co. will generate synergies between the oligonucleotide manufacturing technologies and pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities and know-how of the Ajinomoto Group and the management resources of GeneDesign, Inc. to accelerate business expansion in the field of CDMOs for nucleic acid drugs,2 which is growing significantly.

Because development of nucleic acid drugs is progressing with applications for illnesses that have been difficult to treat, significant market growth is expected in Japan and overseas. To meet the needs of this market, Ajinomoto Co. applied the synthesis technologies it has cultivated to develop a manufacturing method for oligonucleotides based on liquid-phase synthesis - which is more suitable for mass production than solid-phase synthesis, the conventional method for synthesizing oligonucleotides - and has been conducting a CDMO business (AJIPHASE�3).

GeneDesign, Inc., which was established in 2000, is a major Japanese CDMO for oligonucleotides. The company has the advanced technologies related to solid-phase synthesis, as well as strict quality control and know-how, necessary for the manufacture of nucleic acid drugs. Consequently, it has earned a high evaluation from a broad range of customers, including Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturers and research organizations. This acquisition will combine GeneDesign, Inc.'s solid-phase synthesis, which is ideal for high-mix low-volume production, and its highly experienced human resources and cGMP4-compliant manufacturing functions, Ajinomoto Co.'s proprietary liquid-phase synthesis method, which is ideal for mass production, and OmniChem's pharmaceutical manufacturing functions and know-how. This structure will enable Ajinomoto Co. to extend its contract development and manufacturing business for oligonucleotides from early-stage development (providing high-mix low-volume production using solid-phase synthesis) to late-stage development and post-marketing (mass production with liquid-phase synthesis). It will also help create a stable, highly profitable CDMO business and strengthen and promote an advanced biomedical business5 that contributes to the health of people worldwide.