Biocon divests enzymes for $115 million, enters into exclusive deal for bioinsulin

Bangalore-based Biocon Ltd today announced a definitive agreement to divest its enzymes business vertical to Novozymes A/S for $115 million and focus on its core bio-pharmaceuticals business. The Enzymes business includes a broad range of industrial enzymes, food additives and process aids.

It has simultaneously signed an exclusive agreement with Invitrogen Corporation to develop and market a bio-similar version of G-CSF (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor) insulin in North America and the European Union for cell culture.

Biocon's enzymes business will be integrated into Novozymes South Asia Pvt Ltd, a fully owned affiliate of Novozymes A/S. Production and formulation will continue at Biocon's site under lease and service agreements with Novozymes.

Subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to he completed by the end of the third quarter of the calendar year.

Biocon says that after the divestment process is over, it would concentrate on its bio-pharma business verticals that include APIs, biologicals and proprietary molecules both commercialised and under development.
"Over the past decade we have clearly recognised the high growth trajectory of our bio-pharma business verticals and have progressively invested to build proprietary know-how and global scale," said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director, Biocon.

"Novozymes as the recognised world leader in enzymes will be in a strong position to leverage our existing enzymes portfolio built over a span of nearly three decades. We believe that this is the right time to divest our enzymes business and focus on unleashing the full potential of our bio-pharma businesses," she added.

Allegro Capital Advisors acted as Biocon's investment bankers to the transaction with Novozymes.

Exclusive licensing agreement for GCSF
Biocon has simultaneously signed an exclusive licensing agreement with global biopharmaceutical firm Invitrogen Corporation, a provider of essential life science technologies for disease research and drug discovery, to market pharmaceutical-grade insulin to the global cell culture market.

Under the terms of the agreement, Biocon will receive an upfront licensing fee and royalties from sales after it obtains regulatory approvals in the licensed territories.

The company also hopes to commence Phase I clinical trials in Sweden for which it has filed an investigational medical product dossier (IMPD) for IN 105. This marks its first step in its international development plan.

The trial will be conducted at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.