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13 August, 2020 - 15:27 By Tony Quested

Sosei Heptares plots blockbusting acquisition

Shinichi Tamura

Global biopharma group Sosei Heptares, which has European research operations in the Cambridge UK science & technology cluster, is plotting what it says will be a potentially transformative acquisition to underpin global growth.

Without going into details, the Japanese-owned business believes the acquisition will provide a pathway to expansion and counter the hit on finances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has just raised $194 million and says it will use most of the cash on the game-changing deal.

Shinichi Tamura, chairman, president and CEO of Sosei Heptares, said: “Sosei Heptares has made good progress in the first half of 2020, our 30th anniversary year and a period that has presented significant challenges for businesses globally. 

“Our response to these challenges has been rapid and impressive, allowing us to ensure employee safety and maintain a high level of business continuity. 

“We have added another major pharma partnership with AbbVie and have secured the long-term growth capital we require to execute our ambitious corporate objectives. 

“These include both organic and inorganic strategic options including a potentially transformative acquisition, as well as investments that enhance our own world-leading discovery and early development capabilities. 

“We are excited by the future and motivated more than ever to build a profitable, global biopharmaceutical company delivering novel drug candidates to treat serious disease as well as value for shareholders.”

The new global agreement signed with AbbVie is particularly significant for Sosei Heptares: the discovery collaboration and option to license collaboration will initially focus on discovery of novel small molecules targeting inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. 

The company will conduct and fund R & D activities through Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling studies. For the first target, the company is eligible to receive up to $32m in upfront and near-term milestone payments, as well as potential option, development and commercial milestones of up to $377 million, plus royalties on global sales. AbbVie has the option to expand the collaboration up to a total of four targets.

Revenue for the six months to June 30 declined to $23.2m – primarily due to the absence of major milestone payments from existing collaborations. 

The company expects to achieve new upfront and milestone payments later in the fiscal year.

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