Otsuka snaps up Visterra in $430 million deal


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Otsuka Pharmaceutical has announced it has reached a definitive, board-approved agreement with Visterra to acquire the latter company in an all-cash transaction to the value of $430 million.

The deal will see Otsuka acquire Visterra’s Hierotope platform, a tool which leverages novel computational and experimental technologies in the design of precision antibody-based therapies to target diseases which are not adequately tackled by existing antibody therapeutic technologies. It will also pick up a pipeline which includes candidates for cancer, chronic pain, infectious diseases, and IgA nephropathy and other kidney diseases, complementing its own portfolio in kidney and infectious diseases as well as neurological diseases, haematological cancers, and cardiovascular conditions.

“I am highly gratified that Visterra’s exceptional antibody platform technology, promising pipeline and talented researchers will join up with Otsuka,” said Tatsuo Higuchi, the firm’s President and Representative Director. “By collaborating and reinforcing each other’s culture, human ingenuity and technology, we hope to help fulfil Visterra’s promise as a powerful new drug creation engine and expand Otsuka’s research horizons.”

Dr Brian J G Pereira, CEO of Visterra, also commented: “This transaction affirms the power of Visterra’s novel technology platform, the promise of our product candidates, and the value our employees and shareholders have created. Our two companies share a common culture of creativity and innovation, and commitment to patients with kidney diseases, cancer and other hard-to-treat diseases. Joining forces with Otsuka will provide Visterra the resources, support and commitment to accelerate development of our pipeline and fully realize the potential of our technology platform,”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.

Matt Fellows