Key Biologics And Astarte Biologics Merge, Ampersand Funds Expansion Of Cell And Gene Therapy

Source: Gerd Altmann, no changes made, CC0 Creative Commons.
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Key Biologics, founded in 2009, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, provides research and clinical grade human cells and blood products and related services to pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and academic institutions around the world. The company is focused on advancing life science from discovery, through R&D, and into curing disease. It offers 18+ years of experience in collecting and delivering human-derived biological materials to the life science industry.

Astarte Biologics, founded in 2004, headquartered in Bothwell, Washington, offers the largest selection of characterized immune cells and reagents to help immunology and inflammation researchers get on with discovery. Astarte makes it easy for life sciences and pharmaceutical companies worldwide to find the right cells for their research needs. All products are well characterized, tested negative for blood borne pathogens, and searchable by donor blood type, gender, age, ethnicity and disease state. Astarte also offers comprehensive research services to aid in immune system research.

Founded in 1988, Ampersand Capital Partners is a middle market private equity firm dedicated to growth-oriented investments in the healthcare sector.  With offices in Boston and Amsterdam, Ampersand leverages its unique blend of private equity and operating experience to build value and drive superior long-term performance alongside its portfolio company management teams. Ampersand has helped build numerous market-leading companies across each of its core healthcare sectors, including Brammer Bio, Confluent Medical, Genewiz, Genoptix, Talecris Biotherapeutics and Viracor-IBT Laboratories.

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Key Biologics, has completed its merger with Astarte Biologics to create the leading provider of research- and clinical-grade human immune cells, blood products, and related services to the biopharmaceutical industry.  In conjunction with the merger the new entity also received an investment from Ampersand Capital Partners to continue expanding the company in the rapidly evolving cell and gene therapy markets.

“Key and Astarte represent excellent fits with Ampersand’s strategy of investing in growth-oriented businesses in exciting markets that we know well.  Each company has established leadership positions in specialty segments of the research and cell therapy development markets, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with an impressive management team focused on driving future growth and success of the business.” – David Anderson, Ampersand partner

“Our partnership with Key represents a highly complementary union of cell collection with downstream processing, characterization, and model and assay development capabilities. The combination enables us to accelerate programs in drug discovery and safety testing, enhance fundamental research, and streamline manufacturing process development.  As the industry continues to appreciate the role of the immune system in disease pathology, as well as the ability to modulate it to treat various conditions, our unrivaled expertise in T cell biology positions us very well to support current and future customers.” – Dr. Anne Lodge, founder and CEO of Astarte Biologics

“We are very excited to partner with Astarte to expand Key’s product and service offerings and rapidly scale the combined company to meet the growing demand for high-quality stem and immune cells in the research and therapeutic markets.  The addition of Astarte not only brings valuable technical and operational expertise and service capabilities, it also adds a portfolio of well-characterized and antigen-specific immune cells that customers can use as critical research models in their drug development workflows.” – Dr. Edward Scott, founder of Key Biologics