(Adds background, analyst comment)

June 17 (Reuters) – Medical equipment maker Danaher Corp
said on Thursday it would buy privately held biotech
company Aldevron in an all-cash deal for about $9.6 billion,
snapping up a supplier to COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna Inc

U.S.-based Aldevron has a contract to supply Moderna plasmid
DNA required to make the drugmaker’s mRNA vaccine, which has
been authorized for use in more than 40 countries including the
United States.

Danaher also has an agreement with the U.S. government to
expand the manufacturing of products needed to make COVID-19

Aldevron, majority owned by Swedish fund EQT, also produces
mRNA and proteins for biotechnology and pharmaceutical customers
across research, clinical and commercial fields.

North Dakota-headquartered Aldevron, which has about 600
employees, will operate as a standalone company within its Life
Sciences segment, Danaher said.

Danaher said it expects to finance the deal using cash on
hand and/or proceeds from issuing commercial paper.

Morgan Stanley was the exclusive financial adviser to
Aldevron, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP provided legal

Danaher’s shares rose about 4% in morning trading.
(Reporting by Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren
Daniel and Sriraj Kalluvila)