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Auckland BioSciences Gains Australian Foothold With CellSera Acquisition

New Zealand life sciences company, Auckland BioSciences Limited (ABS), has acquired CellSera Australia, a New South Wales-based company specialising the production of animal sera.

ABS, New Zealand’s leading producer of animal-based serum, has acquired 100 percent of the shares in Australian Bio-Tech Laboratories Pty Ltd, trading as CellSera. The acquisition significantly increases Auckland BioSciences’ R&D and production capabilities and positions the company as a global leader in high-quality animal sera.

Acquiring CellSera will allow ABS to expand its product range and achieve greater scale to meet market needs. CellSera will continue to trade under its own name and ABS expects to achieve consolidated revenues of NZ$40m in FY2022.

ABS manufactures and exports premium New Zealand-made animal-derived serum and plasma.

Animal serum is a key ingredient for cell culture in bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing and is used in medical research and in the manufacture of human and veterinary products such as vaccines and other biological preparations. The global cell culture market is expected to reach US$36b by 2027.

“This transaction delivers on three fronts, scale, product range and technology,” says Dr John Chang, Co-founder and Managing Director, Auckland BioSciences.

By the close of Q4 2021, Auckland BioSciences will operate three processing facilities in Australasia

  • ABS’ Rosedale, Auckland facility, scheduled for completion in Q4 2021 will operate as a sterile filtration site focusing on high value sera
  • CellSera’s sterile filtration plant in Rutherford, New South Wales will continue its focus on high value sera including FBS
  • ABS’ Hornby South, Christchurch facility will continue its focus on raw and semi processed porcine serum

“ABS and CellSera are on a growth path. Both companies are expected to expand in their capabilities, offerings, production outputs, and profitability. Our growth strategy is based on continuing to innovate in the production of high-value serum-based products and to acquire complementary organisations that will increase our scale, R&D capabilities and market access in the cell culture media market,” said Dr Chang.

CellSera adds a critical new serum and revenue stream to ABS’ product range, FBS. CellSera consistently achieves benchmark quality and yields in the production of pharmaceutical grade FBS, the most widely used serum in cell culture. FBS supports the widest range of cell types and has the lowest levels of inhibitory proteins and antibodies. It is ideal for cell growth, and is used for immunotherapy, biotech research, stem-cell and vaccine production, and even some COVID-19 vaccines.

“While our business is operationally complex, our proposition is relatively simple. We take animal blood, otherwise regarded as a waste product from abattoirs, and turn it into a high value export,” says Dr Chang. “And our established supplier relationships will deliver us the quantities of ovine, porcine and bovine materials we need to continue our profitability into 2022 and beyond.”

A NZ$6.5m capital raise completed on 2 September 2021, along with the purchase of CellSera, serve as strong growth markers for ABS. The raise was initiated to fund vertical integration, such as adding FBS to the company’s product offering, the completion of ABS’ Rosedale sterile production facility, and ongoing R&D.

“Auckland BioSciences has consolidated its operations around its core strengths, its business strategy is measured and its financial position is strong. Its management and board understand its unique position within global markets and what it does best – produce the highest quality animal-based sera on the market,” says Gary Paykel, Chairman, Auckland Biosciences.

“The company’s vision to achieve a leadership position in Asia is well underway, and we expect to see further breakthroughs into North America and EU nation markets in 2022.”

ABS’ Australasian operations create some of the purest, high value animal serum available. New Zealand and Australia are the world leaders in serum because of their protected environments, strict agricultural regulations and high standards of animal husbandry and care. Agricultural systems in both countries use few chemicals, hormones, vaccinations, and other treatments on livestock – which makes serum produced in both nations of much higher value than that from other, less stringent geographies.

Sera produced in New Zealand and Australia command premiums over their international competition. One litre of sterile filtered FBS made in South America has an approximate value of US$300 in comparison to the US$1,000 per litre price of Australia- and New Zealand-originated serum.

ABS exports its ovine, porcine, and bovine sera to 16 countries and some of the world’s largest markets including the EU, Brazil, Russia, India and China.

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