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5/21/2008 3:14:21 AM
TOKYO, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd. announced today
that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the privately held firm,
U3 Pharma AG, a German biotechnology company focusing on research into
antibodies for the treatment of cancer.
Daiichi Sankyo will purchase 100 percent of the stock and make a
one-time payment of 150 million Euros ($235 million dollars) for the
company. Closure of the transaction is subject to clearance under the
Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and customary closing
U3 Pharma, which is based in Martinsried, Germany, was founded by
Professor Axel Ullrich of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, whose
pioneering gene technology-based and oncology-focused research led to the
development of the oncology blockbusters Herceptin(R) and Sutent(TM)*. U3
Pharma was established in 2001 and currently employs 27 people, the
majority of whom work directly in research and development.
U3 Pharma's investors include Alta Partners, Atlas Venture, E. de
Rothschild Investment Partners, Life Science Partners and Karsten Henco, as
well as private individuals from the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
U3 Pharma's pipeline of novel targeted therapeutics includes programs
focusing on fully-human antibodies as potential therapies for breast, lung
and colorectal cancers, among others. The company's lead product, which is
being co-developed with Amgen, is U3-1287 (AMG 888), the first fully-human
anti-HER3 monoclonal antibody (mAb) to inhibit oncogenic signaling and
tumor proliferation. The companies intend to initiate clinical development
of this compound this year.
Daiichi Sankyo's current novel therapeutics portfolio for worldwide
commercialization includes CS-1008, an oncologic agent to combat malignant
neoplasms, which is in Phase 2. For commercialization only in Japan,
Daiichi Sankyo has the rights to market denosumab, or AMG 162, which is
licensed from Amgen. In Japan, this agent is currently in preparation for
Phase 3 for osteoporosis, and in Phase 3 for bone metastases in patients
with advanced breast cancer. Daiichi Sankyo also has the exclusive rights
in Japan to develop and market nimotuzumab, or DE 766, which is licensed
from CIMYM Biosciences. This is an oncologic agent in Phase 1 to treat
advanced solid malignancies.
"Our acquisition of U3 Pharma is an ideal strategic fit for our
oncology portfolio," said Takashi Shoda, President and CEO of Daiichi
Sankyo Co., Ltd. "We currently have three human monoclonal antibodies in
development. Additionally, in March, 2008, we announced that we were
expanding our joint research venture with another German company, MorphoSys
AG, for its advanced Human Combinatorial Antibody Library and its phage
display technologies. One of our goals for Daiichi Sankyo is to increase
our presence in novel therapeutics in the oncology arena."
"This transaction with Daiichi Sankyo represents an important and
exciting milestone for U3 Pharma," said founder Professor Axel Ullrich of
the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry. "We look forward to working with
our Daiichi Sankyo colleagues to advance our discovery pipeline and to
collaborate on translating that pipeline into novel cancer therapies."
About Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited
Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited, established in 2005 after the merger
of two leading century-old Japanese pharmaceutical companies, is a global
pharmaceutical innovator, continuously generating innovative drugs that
enrich the quality of life for patients around the world. The company uses
its cumulative knowledge and expertise in the fields of cardiovascular
disease, cancer, metabolic disorders, and infection as a foundation for
developing an abundant product lineup and R&D pipeline. For more
information, visit http://www.daiichisankyo.com.
*Herceptin(R) is a trademark of Genentech, Inc.
Sutent(TM) is a trademark of Pfizer, Inc.
Except for the historical information contained herein, this release
contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve a number
of risks and uncertainties, including the difficulty of predicting FDA
approvals, the acceptance and demand for new pharmaceutical products, the
impact of competitive products and pricing, the timely development and
launch of new products, and any risk factors listed from time to time in
Daiichi Sankyo's Annual Report.
Inquiries in Japan
Dentsu Public Relations Inc.
Telephone: +81-3-5565-8245 (direct)
Inquiries in the U.S.
Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
Office: +1 973-695-8330
Cell: +1 973-563-1086
Inquiries in Europe
Dr. Thomas Portz
Daiichi Sankyo Europe GmbH
SOURCE Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.