Japan’s Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) is buying Israeli pharmaceutical company NeuroDerm, which is traded on the NASDAQ, for a whopping $1.1 billion (or $39 per share), in one of the largest deals in Israel’s history. This is also the largest ever acquisition of an Israeli healthcare company, as well as one of the largest purchases of an Israeli business by a Japanese company.
Earlier this year, Intel made the largest acquisition when it bought Israeli autonomous car tech company Mobileye for $15.3 billion.
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According to a statement released by MTPC, the merger is intended to help “rapidly build a foundation for sustained growth in the US, the world’s largest pharmaceutical market.” This deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Founded in 2003 by Eli Heldman and led by CEO Dr. Oded Lieberman, Rehovot, Israel-based NeuroDerm develops combinations of medicines and medical devices to treat central nervous system disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. It has three clinical-stage product candidates in development.
“We believe the transaction will bring important benefits to shareholders of NeuroDerm and patients with Parkinson’s disease who urgently need new therapies,” Liberman said in a statement. “MTPC has demonstrated development and commercialization expertise in the field of neurology and we are confident that… they will help make this important new therapy available as broadly and rapidly as possible.”
Drug manufacturer Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, which was founded in 1678, is headquartered in Doshomachi, Osaka, considered the birthplace of Japan’s pharmaceutical industry.
According to the Parkinson’s Association, 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinson’s disease. It is a chronic, progressive and degenerative disease characterized by reduced dopamine levels in the brain. Symptoms of the disease include trembling and slowness of movement, which severely worsen over time.
NeuroDerm’s lead product, ND0612, stabilizes plasma evodopa (which converts to dopamine) concentrations to significantly improve motor and non-motor complications. The drug has commenced phase III clinical trials in the US and Europe, and is expected to launch in 2019.
The acquisition by MTPC received unanimous approval by the NeuroDerm Board of Directors, as it represented a premium of 79 percent over the share price on June 9, and a 17 percent premium over the closing stock price on July 21.
Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Ofir Akunis, called Lieberman to congratulate him: “First and foremost, this is your company’s achievement,” Akunis said, according to a statement. “But this is another proof of Israel’s leadership position in science and technology.”