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Sosei buys Activus Pharma and drug delivery technology

By Wai Lang Chu , 29-Jun-2010
Last updated the 29-Jun-2010 at 08:59 GMT

Sosei has revealed its intention to acquire Activus Pharma in a deal which allows the Japan-based firm to get their hands on Activus' nanoparticle drug formulation tools, a technology that’s in its infancy but holds great potential.

The move is something of a departure for the biopharmaceutical company, which previously adopted a reduced risk business model, acquiring compounds from and bringing compounds into Japan through a series of reprofiling and in-licensing agreements.

Under the terms of the new deal, Sosei has purchased all Activus’issued share capital through a stock exchange. However, Sosei stated there would be no plans to issue new stocks to current Activus shareholders.

Instead, the company will offer a cash consideration to preference shareholders using a fund totalling 500,250,000 yen ($5.6m). Common shareholders are to be paid 1 yen per share.

In a statement, Sosei assured common shareholders that, “profit generated from the acquisition will be split among common shareholders for five years from the day of the deal or until gross profit totals 1 billion yen, whichever comes sooner.

Shareholders will perhaps look to Activus’ Pure Nano-particle Technology (APNT) as a reason to hold onto their stake within the acquisition.

Contamination-free processing

The technology claims to keep compounds virtually free from contamination during processing, whilst yielding pharmaceutical ingredients with particle sizes ranging from 50 to 300nm levels.

The reduction of drug particles to the nano-scale increases termination velocity and saturation solubility leading to improved drug performance. This allows the development of injections, ophthalmic solutions and inhalations with poorly soluble compounds where high purity is required.

Sosei’s acquisition of this nano-particle technology can be expected to generate new development candidates as well as partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies eager to utilise this form of drug delivery for its own drug formulations.

Sosei and Activus join fellow drug development company PharmaNova is developing this nanoparticle technology. Its NovaSperse technology has also made waves within the industry with partnerships already established with Rochester Innovations and Taiwan-based Orient Europharma.

Only this month, news of another nanoparticle-related partnership reached a milestone as Tekmira Pharmaceuticals announced its partnership with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals had presented data to suggest its Phase I trial of ALN-VSP, a drug used to treat liver tumours, was showing success when coupled with Tekmira’s lipid nanoparticle technology.

According to market research firm Cientifica, the market for nanotechnology-enabled drug delivery will rise to $26bn by 2012 from its current size of $3.4bn, representing a compound annual growth rate of 37 per cent.

The firm also predict the market could steeply rise after 2012, reaching potentially $220bn by 2015 for these nano-enabled compounds.

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