Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical to buy Temasek-backed Visterra for $430m

Tablets of vitamin supplement imported by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. are arranged for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg Photo by Bloomberg

Tokyo-based healthcare company Otsuka Pharmaceutical (Otsuka), a subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings, has announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire antibody developer Visterra for $430 million in cash.

Upon the completion of the deal, Visterra will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Otsuka America, the US holding company and a unit of Otsuka Pharma, and Visterra will continue to operate its business, develop its pipeline and retain its talent and location in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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

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

Otsuka Pharma researches, develops, manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products for the treatment of diseases and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health.

“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,” said Visterra managing director and CEO Brian JG Pereira.

Visterra is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing innovative antibody-based therapies for the treatment of patients with kidney diseases and other hard-to-treat diseases.

It has been backed by Polaris Partners, Flagship Pioneering, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MRL Ventures Fund, Vertex Ventures HC, Serum Institute of India Private Ltd., Temasek Holdings, Omega Funds, Cycad Group, Lux Capital, Alleghany Financial Group Ventures, CTI Life Sciences Fund and Alexandria Equities.

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