Business & Tech

Repligen pays $40 million to buy TangenX Technology

Repligen Corp., a Waltham company that supplies products to help biotechs make their drugs, said Thursday that it will pay nearly $40 million to buy TangenX Technology Corp., a Shrewsbury company that makes similar equipment.

The deal marks the fourth acquisition in the past five years for Repligen, which makes filtration systems and other technologies used to clear and purify biotech drugs.

“This fits in with what we’re doing in the world of bioprocessing,” Repligen chief executive Tony J. Hunt said. “We want to develop technology in-house and find technology externally that will contribute to our overall growth. We typically look for a company that has great technology but has underinvested in their commercial [sales] organization.”

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TangenX Technology Corp., a business unit of Novasep Holding SAS of Lyon, France, has 18 employees who make filters used in bioprocessing. All the employees will join Repligen, including TangenX president John Connors, who will become a Repligen vice president.

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Repligen started in 1981 as a drug developer but, with the emergence of a biotech industry — which began to manufacture protein-based drugs in large stainless steel tanks — the company branched into supplying equipment. In 2012, it decided to focus exclusively on bioprocessing. Its customers include industry leaders Biogen Inc., Amgen Inc., and Sanofi Genzyme.

Both Repligen and TangenX are focused on supplying products for a new type of biologics production called single-use bioprocessing, in which batches of drugs are manufactured in disposable plastic linings within bioprocessors. The process improves efficiency because it eliminates the need to continually clear and test tanks.

The purchase of TangenX, which takes effect immediately, boosts Repligen’s workforce to 238, including about 150 in Massachusetts. The company also has operations in Germany and Sweden.

Repligen is on track to ring up about $100 million in revenue this year. Hunt said it hopes to more than double annual sales by 2020.

Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.