Plasma giant buys US rival
Barcelona – While the cash-strapped Spanish government is being stripped of its AAA grade investment rating, one of the giants of the country’s life science industry is on a spending spree. Grifols, a producer of plasma protein therapies, is buying US-based biotherapeutics firm Talecris for approximately EUR2.8bn. The two companies have signed a definitive agreement. The purchase would make Barcelona-based Grifols SA one of the world’s largest makers of medicines from donated blood plasma. The purchase comes just nine months after Talecris raised US$950m in an initial public offering. Talecris’ drugs, which are made from blood plasma, are used to treat genetic and chronic illnesses. Its biggest product is Gamunex, which is used to treat primary humoral immunodeficiency disease, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. The company formed in 2005 when the two private investment groups Cerberus Capital Management and Ampersand Ventures bought Bayer’s blood-plasma division for US$590m and renamed it Talecris. When they first tried to sell the company in 2008 to Australia’s CSL Ltd, the deal was scrapped after US antitrust regulators objected. An intervention now is less likely. Grifols has a network of about 80 plasma collection centers in the United States that will be merged with Talecris’ network of 69 centers. Grifols expects its purchase to be completed during the second half of 2010.