Japanese pharma company buys US drugmaker for $5.9b | Asian Business Review
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Japanese pharma company buys US drugmaker for $5.9b

The US firm is developing a treatment for one the major causes of vision loss in aging adults.

Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma, Inc. agreed to buy US-based drugmaker Iveric Bio for $5.9b as the Japanese pharmaceutical firm bets big on the prospective ophthalmology treatments.

Astellas entered into a definitive agreement under which its wholly-owned subsidiary, Berry Merger is purchasing all outstanding shares of Iveric Bio for $40 each in cash.

Acquiring Iveric Bio, which specializes in novel treatments for retinal diseases, gives the Japanese firm ownership to the company’s flagship program avacincaptad pegol (ACP), an investigational drug for treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the major cause of moderate and severe loss of central vision in aging adults that mostly affects both eyes.

“The opportunity to create a world class entity with the ophthalmology expertise and capabilities of Iveric Bio and the global reach and resources of Astellas is unique and has the potential to benefit patients worldwide suffering from blinding retinal diseases, including GA,” said Pravin U. Dugel, president of Iveric Bio.

The proposed ACP treatment is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration with results expected to come out on 19 August.

Aside from its programs, the merger will also provide Astellas a foundation in the ophthalmology sector with Iveric Bio’s commercial team and network of experts, as well as its existing infrastructure.

“Iveric Bio has promising programs including ACP and capabilities across the entire value chain in the ophthalmology field. We believe that this acquisition will enable us to deliver greater value to patients with ocular diseases at high risk of blindness,” said Astellas president and chief executive officer, Naoki Okamura.

Post deal, scheduled to close in the third quarter, Iveric Bio will become an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of Astellas. The Japanese firm plans to fund the acquisition in a mix of debt and existing cash.

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