14 May 2020
Porto company becomes world-leader in research and manufacturing of antibodies

FairJourney Biologics, a biotechnology company from Porto, has just announced the merger with the English counterpart Iontas, based in Cambridge (United Kingdom). The synergy between the two main clinical research organizations for the discovery and manufacture of antibodies will allow us to create a world-leading international platform in this sector of biopharmaceuticals.

The two laboratories, which recently announced a collaboration to expedite the identification of effective antibodies in a therapy for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, are now no longer officially competitors, to become business partners.

Acquired by the company from Porto that brought the capital for the merger, Iontas now joins the FairJourney Group to offer engineering and antibody discovery services. The Group thus incorporates the knowledge and previous experience of the two laboratories, where in addition to the application of state-of-the-art technologies, the researchers hold a vast collection of antibodies, already identified and validated in their immunity. And this work will be maintained in the Porto and Cambridge laboratories, which will work simultaneously.

"This junction allows antibodies to be identified without the need for further optimization, thereby reducing the risk of delays during development and subsequent scale to manufacture," says FairJourney Biologics in a statement.

The transaction was facilitated by the investment of GHO Capital, "a European health care investor, which supported FairJourney's strategy to expand its service offering and geographic presence and thus better serve an international customer base", continues the company, which it also ensures that the partnership with Iontas in the scope of the investigation for COVID-19 is to be maintained.

As part of the transaction, Iontas' emerging KnotBody technology was launched as a new drug development company, Maxion Therapeutics, under the leadership of John McCafferty.

"As a competitor for many years, we were familiar with Iontas' work, reputation, and service offerings. After the collaboration agreement reached earlier this year in relation to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, it became evident that we share the same values ​​when offering a premium service with innovative technologies and therefore the integration of Iontas into the FairJourney group is easy. This agreement represents an important step in the continued growth and internationalization of FairJourney, and we are excited to work with Iontas as one team", says Antonio Parada, CEO of FairJourney Biologics.

John McCafferty, CEO of Iontas, says he is "excited and enthusiastic about this merger". It also highlights that Iontas and FairJourney "share the same values ​​and, even as competitors, there has always been of great mutual respect between the two companies. I remain committed to ensuring the continuation and development of Iontas' business", he concludes.

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