MilliporeSigma closes Exelead deal, pledges $550M for tech scale up

Feb. 25, 2022

German-based Merck KGaA has closed their $780 million deal to buy Exelead — a little more than a month after the deal was announced — and plunked down an additional $550 million investment in tech scale up.

The additional investment from MilliporeSigma, the Canada and U.S. Life Science business sector of Merck, will be used to scale up Exelead’s technology over the next ten years.

Exelead, an Indianapolis-based CDMO, currently employs more than 200 employees. The purchase is part of Merck KGaA's plan to ramp up their investments in mRNA.

Exelead specializes in complex sterile injectable formulations like lipid nanoparticle-based technologies, a key component for use in mRNA treatments, like the COVID-19 vaccine. The acquisition of Exelead will also allow MilliporeSigma to up its supply chain capabilities and speed, by simplifying and enhancing the manufacturing process.

In January 2021, Merck KGaA announced its acquisition of AmpTec, a Germany-based mRNA CDMO, specializing in differentiated PCR-based technology. At the time of acquisition, Merck KGaA said the move would allow it to increase mRNA development and manufacturing capabilities.

The market for mRNA technologies is exploding with many companies like BioNTech, Moderna and Sanofi continuing to invest heavily in mRNA assets following the success of the technology in the COVID-19 vaccine.