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Scottish biotech ProStrakan sold for £292m

Published on 22/02/11 at 11:49am

Scottish biotech ProStrakan is to be bought by Japanese manufacturer Kyowa Hakko Kirin for £292 million.

The companies agreed the deal this week, with KHK paying 130p per share for the Galshiels company.

Peter Allen, chairman of ProStrakan, said the sale was in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.

“The fit between ProStrakan and KHK is unmistakeable in terms of products, geography and infrastructure,” he suggests.

“We are enthused by KHK’s plans for the business and, in particular, with its intentions regarding ProStrakan’s infrastructure in Europe and the US,” Allen concluded.

The move comes after a number of other approaches – including one from Dutch pharma firm Norgine, which part-owns ProStraken.

The company had sales of £100m last year, 80% of which came from European Union operations.

“The combination of KHK and ProStrakan represents a highly attractive and strategically complementary fit,” says KHK president Yuzuru Matsuda.

“This transaction provides KHK with ProStrakan’s established sales and marketing platform in the US and Europe, strengthening our global business and future growth prospects,” he adds.

Around £17m of ProStraken’s sales last year came from pain relief brand Abstral, which is marketed in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Sweden.

The FDA has also approved the drug – albeit after some delays – which is indicated for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients, and ProStrakan expects to launch it in the US soon.

US authorities have also given the green light to ProStraken’s Fortesta – again, after delays - a testosterone transdermal gel used for testosterone replacement therapy in male hypogonadism.

Endo Pharmaceuticals, with whom ProStrakan has partnered on this product in the US, plans to launch it in the near future.

It has not been plain sailing recently for the Scottish firm: last year, the manufacture of one of its key drugs - Sancuso, a patch to prevent nausea during chemotherapy – was suspended in the US for some weeks after quality assurance issues.

The new deal continues KHK’s forays into foreign markets: in 2009, it signed an early-stage research deal with Sanofi-Aventis for its anti-LIGHT fully human monoclonal antibody, which could be a first-in-class treatment for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Adam Hill

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