The acquisition is expected to support Moderna’s suite of platform technologies, and OriCiro’s synthetic biology and enzyme technologies will help expand its portfolio of therapeutics and vaccines

Moderna office in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Moderna office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Credit: Fletcher/Wikipedia)

US-based mRNA therapeutics and vaccines maker Moderna has agreed to acquire Japanese biotechnology company OriCiro Genomics for $85m.

Established in December 2018, OriCiro Genomics is engaged in the development and commercialisation of cell-free DNA synthesis and amplification technologies.

The company is focused on the amplification of plasmid DNAs for applications in gene and cell-based therapies and synthetic biology.

It offers the world’s first cell-free cloning technology for large circular DNA, where conventional PCR methods are not applicable.

OriCiro chief executive officer Nasir Kato Bashiruddin said: “Moderna has demonstrated remarkable speed and ability to impact lives through their innovative platform and mRNA therapeutics.”

OriCiro president and co-founder Seiji Hirasaki said: “We are thrilled to join forces with Moderna to realize the full power of OriCiro for the benefit of patients.”

OriCiro offers the Cell-Free Cloning System, an advanced tool that enables cell-free assembly and amplification of circular DNA molecules, eliminating the need for E. coli.

The system includes OriCiro Assembly Kit and OriCiro Amp Kit, which can be used independently, but are recommended to be used together for maximum results.

Moderna said that the acquisition will support its suite of platform technologies.

OriCiro’s synthetic biology and enzyme technologies will help expand its portfolio of therapeutics and vaccines, said the US drugmaker.

Moderna chief executive officer Stéphane Bancel said: “With this acquisition, we obtain best-in-class tools for cell-free synthesis and amplification of plasmid DNA, a key building block in mRNA manufacturing.

“OriCiro’s technology strategically complements our manufacturing expertise and further accelerates our research and development engine. We look forward to welcoming the OriCiro team to Moderna.”

In October last year, Moderna secured the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) for mRNA-1273.222, its bivalent Covid-19 booster vaccine targeting Omicron BA.4/BA.5 variant.

The mRNA-1273.222 shot is indicated for use in children and adolescents, aged six to 17 years of age.