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Moderna to Acquire Japan's OriCiro Genomics for $85M

NEW YORK – Messenger RNA vaccine and therapeutics maker Moderna said on Wednesday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tokyo-based synthetic biology firm OriCiro Genomics for $85 million.

Other details of the deal were not disclosed.

"With this acquisition, we obtain best-in-class tools for cell-free synthesis and amplification of plasmid DNA, a key building block in messenger RNA (mRNA) manufacturing," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. "OriCiro's technology strategically complements our manufacturing expertise and further accelerates our research and development engine."

Founded in 2018 to develop and commercialize a technology for cell-free assembly and amplification of large circular DNA, OriCiro raised approximately $7.3 million in Series B funding in July 2021, led by University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners. The firm expanded its Series B round in June 2022 by an undisclosed amount from Asahi Kasei Medical and opened a US office in Boston last year.

Moderna has been developing mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines. Its COVID-19 vaccine, among others like it, helped prove the clinical efficacy of mRNA technology.

The OriCiro deal underscores Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna's global ambitions. The firm struck a deal to build an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in the UK last June and has revealed plans to build facilities in Australia, Canada, and Kenya.