FARGO — Danaher Corp. announced that it will purchase for $9.6 billion Aldevron, the Fargo-based biotechnology company that has been a major hub for making a key ingredient for COVID-19 vaccines.

In an announcement released Thursday, June 17, Danaher announced that it has entered into a "definitive agreement" to purchase privately held Aldevron, founded in 1998 on the campus of North Dakota State University by Michael Chambers and John Ballantyne.

The company, which has a growing campus in south Fargo, employs about 600 people and manufactures high-quality plasmid DNA, mRNA and proteins for biotechnology and biopharmaceutical customers engaged in research, clinical and commercial applications.

Aldevron will operate as a standalone operating company and brand with Danaher's life sciences segment.

"We are thrilled to have Aldevron join Danaher's Life Sciences segment," Rainer M. Blair, Danaher's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "For nearly 25 years, Aldevron has made tremendous contributions to the advancement of cell, gene and other novel therapies and vaccines.

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"This acquisition will expand our capabilities into the important field of genomic medicine and help us support our customers and their critical mission to bring more life-saving therapies and vaccines to market faster."

Chambers, Aldevron's executive chairman and co-founder, said joining Danaher will "help us expand our global reach and harness the power of the Danaher business system to continue supporting our customers with best-in-class products and services."

He added: "I'm incredibly excited for Aldevron to take this pivotal next step with Danaher and look forward to the tremendous impact we can make together in the expanding area of genomic medicine."

This is what the new 14-acre Aldevron campus will look like when an addition and new building are added in south Fargo. Special to The Forum
This is what the new 14-acre Aldevron campus will look like when an addition and new building are added in south Fargo. Special to The Forum

The transaction is subject to "customary conditions," Danaher said in the announcement, including regulatory approvals.

Danaher, which has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., describes itself as a "global science and technology innovator" with a "family of world class brands" with leading positions in health care, environmental and other markets.

Described as a "company of companies," Danaher has more than 20 operating companies, a global workforce of about 69,000 under a "common culture and operating system, the Danaher business system."

Danaher reported revenues in 2020 of $22.2 billion.

EQT Private Equity acquired a majority stake in Aldevron in 2019, enabling the company's rapid growth, including its growing campus in Fargo.

Chambers and Ballantyne formed the company as they were graduating from North Dakota State University, with Chambers taking the leading business role and Ballantyne serving as chief scientific officer.

Aldevron hired Kevin Ballinger as its CEO in 2020 to help expand the company.

Aldevron has manufactured key ingredients for millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines and has been a key hub in the supply chain for mRNA vaccine produced by Moderna.