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Emergent BioSolutions to buy Canadian firm

Rockville-based Emergent BioSolutions Inc. announced Thursday it will pay $222 million to buy Cangene Corp., a Canadian biopharmaceutical company with about 100 employees in Maryland.

Emergent’s big break came from supplying Biothrax, the only vaccine for preventing anthrax approved by the Food and Drug Administration, to the federal government.

The all-cash transaction gives Emergent a more solid base in biodefense contracting while gaining new manufacturing capabilities and expanding into new markets. Cangene makes some commercial products.

The companies expect the deal to be completed in early 2014.

“This acquisition represents an important step in advancing Emergent’s leadership in specialty pharmaceuticals and positions us to drive significant growth in shareholder value,” President and CEO Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi said in a statement.

Cangene currently has three multi-year U.S. government contracts for biodefense products targeting botulinum, smallpox and anthrax. That division of the company brought in about $50 million in revenue during its fiscal year ended July 31.

Cangene also has four hospital-based specialty therapeutic products in its commercial portfolio, including a vaccine to prevent the recurrence of hepatitis B in certain individuals and a medical device to relieve pain associated with oral lesions. The commercial products, which generated about $44 million in revenue last year, focus on infectious diseases, hematology and risks associated with organ transplants.

Emergent officials said in a statement they expect to benefit from Cangene’s established connections in those commercial markets.

Additionally, Cangene has a contract manufacturing facility in East Baltimore that employs about 100 people, and officials said that operation brought in about $33 million last year.

Emergent secured $225 in debt financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, PNC Bank and JP Morgan Chase, which will be used to purchase Cangene and repay existing debts.