Shionogi has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of clinical-stage pharmaceutical firm Qpex Biopharma in a deal valued at $140m.

Qpex’s shareholders will receive an upfront payment of $100m from Shionogi. Qpex equity holders will also receive further milestone payments of $40m on meeting regulatory and development goals.

Qpex will become Shionogi’s fully owned subsidiary.  

The acquisition will expand Shionogi’s antimicrobial pipeline and will further boost research and development expertise by gaining access to xeruborbactam.

Xeruborbactam is an investigational extended spectrum β-lactamase inhibitor discovered by Qpex for the treatment of drug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections.

Shionogi will take over xeruborbactam’s exclusive global development, production and marketing rights.

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Shionogi CEO Isao Teshirogi stated: “Bacterial resistance to antibiotics remains one of the biggest threats to global health, and Qpex’s pipeline, including xeruborbactam, and its capabilities will accelerate our efforts to develop new antibiotic treatments to address antimicrobial resistance.

“Following the close of the acquisition, Qpex will become part of Shionogi, and we will work together to address the needs of patients and healthcare professionals comprehensively and to protect society from current and emerging life-threatening bacterial infections.”

In April 2023, the company’s subsidiary Taiwan Shionogi submitted an emergency use authorisation (EUA) application to the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration for ensitrelvir fumaric acid (ensitrelvir).