Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire US-based biotechnology company Visterra for a cash consideration of approximately $430m.
The deal forms part of Otsuka’s strategy to bolster its portfolio for nephrology and other hard-to-treat diseases.
Visterra’s lead product is a platform of computational and experimental technologies called Hierotope developed for the design and engineering of precision antibody-based therapeutics.
Additionally, the company’s pipeline consists of programmes to target IgA nephropathy and other kidney disorders, chronic pain, cancer, and infectious diseases.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical president and representative director Tatsuo Higuchi said: “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.”
Otsuka develops therapies for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological conditions, haematological cancers, along with kidney, cardiovascular and infectious diseases.
It focuses on drug discovery and development platforms to improve drug discovery efficiency across its programmes and to support traditional research and development (R&D) processes.
Visterra CEO Brian Pereira said: “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 with the resources, support and commitment to accelerate development of our pipeline and fully realise the potential of our technology platform.”
Subject to customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.
After closing of the transaction, Visterra will operate as a subsidiary of Otsuka America, Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s US holding company and wholly owned division.
After the merger Visterra will continue its business and develop its pipeline from the current location in Waltham, Massachusetts.