Merck KGaA Set to Acquire Mirus Bio in $600 Million Deal

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The Mirus Bio acquisition will boost Merck KGaA’s viral vector manufacturing services.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, announced on May 22, 2024 that it intends to acquire Mirus Bio, a US-based life science company, for $600 million, or approximately €550 million. This acquisition will strengthen Merck KGaA’s offerings in the viral vector manufacturing sector because Mirus Bio specializes in the development and commercialization of transfection reagents. Transfection reagents are used to introduce genetic material into cells and play a key role in producing viral vectors for use in cell and gene therapies (CGTs), according to a company press release.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024, dependent on regulatory clearance and other customary closing conditions.

“This strategic acquisition is a further building block for accelerating growth in the break-through technologies of the future. As a leader in the production of viral vectors, our goal is to make the significant potential of cell and gene therapy available for patients worldwide,” said Belén Garijo, chair of the executive board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the company press release.

The Mirus Bio acquisition represents an important step towards Merck KGaA’s goal to offer solutions for every step of viral vector manufacturing for the advancement of CGTs, from preclinical through commercial production, the company stated in the press release. Merck KGaA’s services cover a variety of viral vector types, including adeno-associated virus, lentivirus, and adenovirus. Additionally, the company offers both contract testing services and a range of comprehensive contract development and manufacturing services for viral vector manufacturing.

According to the company, the global market for process products for novel modalities such as CGTs, antibody-drug conjugates, and messenger RNA (mRNA) is expected to grow by approximately 20% per year over the mid-term (i.e., within 10 years). The overall number of CGTs in development has doubled since 2019, and more candidates are advancing to the commercial stage, for example.

“Novel modalities, such as viral vector-based cell and gene therapies, hold immense promise to improve the lives of patients. Combining Mirus Bio's leading technology with our bioprocessing expertise and portfolio allows us to provide solutions for almost every step of viral vector development and manufacturing,” said Matthias Heinzel, member of the executive board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and CEO Life Science, in the press release. “With our integrated offering along the viral vector value chain, we are now well-positioned to support our customers in this fast-growing market to positively impact the lives and health of patients worldwide.”


Viral vectors are a key component in the production of these therapies. Thus, to support that growth, Merck KGaA opened its second Carlsbad, Calif.-based viral vector contract development manufacturing facility in 2021 (1). The company invested €100 million (US$108 million) in the site, which more than doubled the company’s capacity for supporting large-scale commercial and industrial manufacturing for viral vector-based gene therapies.

In addition to its second viral vector manufacturing facility, Merck KGaA also continues to invest in R&D that will enable new therapeutics to be brought to market. In April 2024, the company announced it was investing more than €300 million (US$325 million) to establish a new life science research center at its global headquarters in Darmstadt (2). The investment will harness research on key technologies for the manufacture of antibodies, novel modalities such as CGTs and mRNA applications, and additional products required for biotechnological production.

“We have been driving innovation in nucleic acid delivery for two decades,” said Dale Gordon, CEO of Mirus Bio, in the press release. “The broad portfolio, scale, and global reach of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, combined with our leading transfection reagents, will help take our business to even greater heights and allow us to serve more customers, and ultimately patients, worldwide.”


1. Merck KGaA. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Completes New Viral Vector Contract Development Manufacturing Facility for Gene Therapy. Press Release, Oct. 12, 2021.
2. Merck KGaA. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Invests More Than € 300 Million in New Life Science Research Center. Press Release, April 25, 2024.

Source: Merck KGaA