IONTAS joins forces with FairJourney to create a global leader in outsourced antibody discovery services

Posted 13 May 2020

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Iontas joins forces with FairJourney Biologics to create a global leader in outsourced antibody discovery services


• FairJourney’s combination with Iontas creates a leading global antibody
discovery CRO with an international footprint
• FairJourney’s unique antibody discovery libraries and service portfolio to be
complemented by Iontas’ proprietary mammalian display technology
• Group to have an unparalleled service and technology offering across antibody
discovery, engineering, characterization, and manufacturing services


FairJourney Biologics (Porto, Portugal) and Iontas (Cambridge, UK), two leading Clinical Research Organisations (‘CRO’) in antibody discovery services, today announce the combination of their operations to create an international platform and provide their industry leading services to global biopharma.

The Group will offer antibody discovery and engineering services using both phage and mammalian display technologies and fully validated immune and naïve libraries, continuing to operate from labs in Porto, Portugal and in Cambridge, UK. The combination enables antibodies to be identified without the need for additional optimization, thereby reducing the risk of delays during development and subsequent scale up to manufacturing.

The transaction has been facilitated by investment from GHO Capital, the European specialist investor in healthcare, in support of FairJourney’s strategy to broaden its service offering and geographic footprint to better serve an international client base.

FairJourney and Iontas will continue their announced collaboration to expedite the identification of effective antibodies for a therapeutic to treat COVID-19 patients.

As a part of the transaction, Iontas’ emergent KnotBody technology has been spun out into a new drug development company, Maxion Therapeutics (www.maxion.co.uk) formed by John McCafferty.

Antonio Parada, Chief Executive Officer of FairJourney Biologics, commented: “We have a great understanding of Iontas’ reputation and service offering as a long-term competitor. Following the collaboration agreement reached with Iontas earlier this year in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, it was evident that we shared the same values in offering premium service with innovative technologies, making Iontas a natural fit within the FairJourney group. This deal represents an important step in the continued growth and internationalization of FairJourney, and we look forward to working with Iontas as one team.”

John McCafferty, Chief Executive Officer of Iontas, commented: “I am excited and enthused by this fusion. IONTAS and FairJourney share the same core values and even while we were competitors there has always been a mutual respect between our two companies. I remain as committed as ever to ensuring the continuation and further development of the Iontas business.


As a combined organization, we will be better able to continue providing our customers with premium antibody discovery services using our proprietary technology.

The following advisors assisted FairJourney and GHO on the transaction: Reed Smith, Alvarez & Marsal, Deloitte, Marsh JLT, Kroll, Marras Amsterdam.

The following advisors assisted the Iontas Founder, John McCafferty, and Iontas on the transaction: Shareholder Corporate Finance, Mills & Reeve, Confluence Tax, PW Accountants.


About FairJourney Biologics
FairJourney Biologics is a leading biologics CRO, providing integrated services across antibody discovery, engineering and production to global biopharma. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Porto, FairJourney has grown to over 90 highly technically skilled employees today.

The Company operates a flexible, customer-oriented ‘one-stop shop’ approach to biologics development focused on quality, reliability and partnership. FairJourney has successfully completed more than 460 projects for over 70 customers across big pharma and leading biotech companies to date. The Company’s significant expertise in phage display technology, combined with a diverse approach to generating both immune and naïve antibody libraries have contributed to a market leading 99%+ project success rate. www.fjb.pt


About IONTAS
IONTAS is an innovative biotechnology company focused on antibody discovery and cutting-edge technology development. IONTAS offers services for antibody discovery using Phage Display and Mammalian Display technologies. The innovative Mammalian Display platform enables full length antibodies to be expressed in the context of a mammalian cell, thereby allowing selection based on function, stability, expression and developability. www.iontas.co.uk