Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Otsuka Pharmaceutical to buy biotechnology firm Visterra for $430m

PBR Staff Writer Published 12 July 2018

Otsuka Pharmaceutical has agreed to acquire clinical-stage biotechnology firm Visterra for around $430m.

Visterra is engaged in the development of advanced antibody-based therapies for the treatment of patients with kidney diseases and other hard-to-treat diseases.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical representative director and president Tatsuo Higuchi said: “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.”

The firm’s Hierotope platform includes novel computational and experimental technologies, which allows the design and engineering of precision antibody-based therapies that specifically bind to, and modulate, disease targets that are not adequately treated by traditional therapeutic approaches.

The platform is also comprised of Fc engineering capabilities for half-life extension, bispecific antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).

Visterra’s pipeline consists of programs targeting IgA nephropathy and other kidney diseases, cancer, chronic pain and infectious diseases.

The firm is supported by investments from Polaris Partners, Flagship Pioneering, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, MRL Ventures Fund, Vertex Ventures HC, Serum Institute of India Private, Temasek Holdings, Omega Funds, Cycad Group, Lux Capital, Alleghany Financial Group Ventures, CTI Life Sciences Fund and Alexandria Equities.

Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to complete in the third quarter of this year.

Once the deal concludes, Visterra will turn as a wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka America, which is a US holding company and wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical.

Visterra CEO Dr Brian Pereira said: “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.

“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.”

Otsuka is focusing on research areas, including psychiatric and neurological diseases, hematological cancers, and kidney, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases.

Image: Otsuka Pharmaceutical has agreed to acquire Visterra. Photo: courtesy of rawpixel / Unsplash.