SYDNEY, Australia ¿ GroPep Ltd. in Adelaide will substantially increase its growth factor and biotech reagent manufacturing business by paying A$12 million (US$6.2 million) in cash and stock to buy the Biotech Australia (BA) group of companies in Sydney.

The purchase, which involves A$5.25 million in cash plus the issue of GroPep shares, is for a portfolio of patents as well as BA¿s facilities, which produce monoclonal antibodies and other protein therapeutics.

GroPep Managing Director John Ballard said ¿a chronic worldwide shortage of manufacturing capacity for protein therapeutics, coupled with the rapidly expanding market for our growth factor LR3, creates an excellent business fit between BA and GroPep.¿

The deal does not include the 62 percent interest held by the BA group in another, small listed biotech company, Pi2 Ltd.

Among other successes for BA is a recently announced A$1.9 million contract to produce material for a malaria vaccine initiative established by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. ¿ Mark Lawson