Mills & Reeve complete transaction which sees FairJourney Biologics join forces with Iontas

The collaboration creates a leading global antibody discovery Clinical Research Organisation (‘CRO’) with an international footprint.

Mills & Reeve acted on the sale of Iontas based in Cambridge, UK to FairJourney Biologics based in Porto, Portugal for founding shareholder Dr John McCafferty. GMO Capital backed, the transaction was led by corporate partner Anthony McGurk and he was supported principally by the firm’s Head of Life Sciences, James Fry, together with Principal Associates Kristian Shearsby and Katharine Robinson.

The two leading CROs in antibody discovery services will combine their operations services from labs in Porto and in Cambridge to create an international platform and provide their industry leading services to global biopharma organisations. It will enable antibodies to be identified without the need for additional optimisation, thereby reducing the risk of delays during product development and subsequent scale up to manufacturing.

Given the current circumstances, it is also worth noting the life-changing work that FairJourney and Iontas will continue to do with their announced collaboration which is to expedite the identification of effective antibodies for a therapeutic to treat COVID-19 patients.

Dr McCafferty said: “This transaction was initiated at the beginning of lockdown and as such was carried out under very difficult circumstances. I am extremely grateful to Anthony and his team for their diligence, their professionalism and the access they gave the Iontas team allowing us to steer this to a successful conclusion in a timely manner."

Anthony McGurk, partner at Mills & Reeve said of the sale: “This is a great move for both companies and one that will further strengthen their services to allow them to carry out their important work. It’s been fantastic to be able to carry this out over during the ‘lockdown’ period knowing that their work will help COVID-19 patients.”

James Fry, head of life sciences at Mills & Reeve commented: “We are delighted to have supported John on this transaction and the combination of the two businesses will create a compelling integrated service for biopharma customers.”

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