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ArchiMed looks to replicate impressive Polyplus success with investment in DNA producer Xpress Biologics

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Healthcare-focused buyout house ArchiMed has bought into Belgium-based Xpress Biologics to finance a 10x expansion of its production capacity, the firm said.

The firm’s previous life science investments include Polyplus-transfection, a developer of technology for gene and cell therapy, which multiplied its revenues by a factor of ten in four years under ArchiMed’s backing. Fellow buyout house Warburg Pincus made a “major investment” in the company in April.

ArchiMed tapped MED II fund for the Xpress transaction. The €315m fund targets majority stakes in companies from €5m to €30m.

Founded in 2014, Xpress Biologics develops expression systems and manufactures plasmid DNA and protein therapeutics. Plasmid DNA is the starting material for the production of medicines in the field of gene and cell-based therapies as well as for mRNA-based vaccines, including COVID-19 jabs.

The firm said the $1.1bn plasmid DNA market is expected to grow at a high double-digit rate over the next five years.

Loïc Kubitza, partner at ArchiMed said, “Given our years of experience in the gene and cell therapy industry, supporting a major GMP capacity expansion at Xpress Biologics is a perfect fit for us. Xpress Biologics’ team has done an amazing job developing a superior production process and is now ready to scale up.”

Other COVID-19 related deals from ArchiMed included buying into drug trial remote monitoring provider ActiGraph as the relevance of the company’s niche gaining more weight due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ArchiMed closed its oversubscribed third fund on €650m in August despite receiving €1.3bn in the virtual raise. Founder and managing partner Denis Ribon said investors have pushed the fund towards a significantly higher hard cap but it wanted to stay true to the fund’s focus on smaller firms and hence capping it where it makes sense for the strategy.

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