Otsuka Pharma to acquire VC-backed Neurovance for up to $250m

Visual of Neurovance homepage. March 2017

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (OPC), held by Tokyo-listed Otsuka Holdings, is acquiring venture-funded Neurovance, Inc. (Neurovance) a privately held, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related disorders.

Otsuka America, Inc. (OAI), a subsidiary of OPC, is to provide an estimated $100 million in upfront payments at closing, and up to $150 million in additional payments contingent on achieving development and approval milestones.

Following the closing of the deal, Neurovance will be an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

OPC focuses on pharmaceuticals related to nutrition (i.e. nutraceuticals) and is known for the popular sports drink Pocari Sweat and the energy drink Oronamin C. OPC’s parent company, Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd. listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in an initial public offering (IPO) on December 15, 2010 which raised $2.4 billion, making it the largest for a pharmaceutical corporation up to that time.

The acquisition of Neurovance is in line with Otsuka’s strategy in the CNS therapy area to develop new products.

Neurovance is developing centanafadine (CTN, formerly EB-1020) for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adult and pediatric patients. The company is based in Cambridge, Mass., and was established as a spin-off from Euthymics Bioscience, Inc. in 2011.

Neurovance is backed by Novartis Venture Fund, Venture Investors, Tekla Capital Management, GBS Venture Partners, State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) and Timothy J. Barberich, according to its website.

Centanafadine aims to improve focus, attention, and specific higher level cognitive skills in patients with ADHD. As a drug candidate, to date in its development, Centanafadine has shown that it may achieve comparable efficacy to stimulant drugs with a potentially lower risk of abuse.

Phase II clinical trials in adults, including a phase IIb trial, have been completed for centanafadine, setting the stage for the start of phase III trials in ADHD.

Tatsuo Higuchi, president and executive director, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. commented: “Otsuka has been investing prudently in acquiring assets and collaborating on the development of new technologies that address specific patient needs in the central nervous system, cardio-renal and oncology therapeutic areas. Neurovance’s resources will be an integral part of our activities in CNS.”

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.