Administrators of 4D Pharma secure sale of manufacturing subsidiary and intellectual property

The administrators of 4D Pharma plc have sold 100% of the share capital of its wholly owned subsidiary, 4D Pharma León, S.L.U. (León), to Bacthera AG, and the intellectual property of 4D Pharma Group to CJ Bioscience Inc (CJ), while 30 employees based in Leeds, Aberdeen and Cork have been made redundant.

Bacthera is a Joint Venture of Chr. Hansen A/S and a Lonza Group Affiliate and was set up to serve the needs of the emerging LBP industry.

The site in León, Spain, is a GMP-certified, proven live biotherapeutic product (LBP) manufacturing plant, equipped with bioreactors of various sizes up to 3,500 L.

The sale preserves more than 40 jobs at the site, and provides León with a new parent company which is keen to invest in the long term future of the facility, such as upgrading the site infrastructure and downstream processes, including the introduction of state-of-the-art filtration and spray drying technologies.

James Clark, Managing Director at Interpath and a joint administrator of 4D Pharma plc, said: “Achieving a solvent sale of León is a great result for all involved. It sees more than 40 jobs saved, and allows León to continue to serve the LBP manufacturing market. This was a complex sale of a Spanish entity with a UK parent to a Danish and Swiss joint venture firm. Successfully navigating these complexities has led to a good result for creditors.”

Lukas Schüpbach, CEO, Bacthera, said: “This acquisition allows us to bridge our capabilities in development with our solutions for commercial manufacturing, adding capacity for the entire LBP market. Additionally, offering the direct transfer of clinical manufacturing into the León site will allow our customers to accelerate their products on the path to commercialisation.”

In a separate transaction, the intellectual property of 4D Pharma Group, including its patent library, pipeline assets, and bioinformatics platform technology, was sold to CJ Bioscience Inc.

CJ is an independent corporation of CJ CheilJedang’s RedBio (pharmaceuticals and healthcare) and is interested in accelerating the development of microbiome-based novel drugs.

However, as it was not possible to sell the Group solvently, the Group’s 30 employees based in Leeds, Aberdeen and Cork have been made redundant. However, the sale will ensure that the drug development expertise and innovative technology of 4D Pharma developed over the past ten years will contribute to accelerating the development of microbiome-based drugs under CJ.

James Clark said: “The sale to CJ is a success for science and will see the continued advancement of the research and development that the 4D Pharma Group pioneered. This was a complex, cross-border sale to a multinational buyer and, while it is has unfortunately not been possible to transact on a solvent basis, it can still be considered a successful result for creditors.”

A spokesperson for CJ Bioscience official said: “Through this contract, we have acquired global-level competitiveness in the development of new drugs based on microorganisms, and we will continue to explore new drug candidates through follow-up clinical trials, in addition to the existing candidates that are awaiting FDA clinical trials this year.”

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