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Eisai pairs with Ajinomoto to form GI specialist EA Pharma

Newcompany will begin operations in April 2016


Eisai and Ajinomoto have agreed to pool their resources in gastrointestinal pharmaceuticals to form a specialist company called EA Pharma.

The new organisation - which will be jointly owned by Eisai and food and pharma group Ajinomoto in a 60:40 split - aims to become the leading GI company in Japan and tap into the expanding GI therapy market resulting from the ageing world population and rising rates of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's.

Under the terms of the deal, Eisai's GI unit - which sells drugs such as Pariet (rabeprazole) and Selbex (teprenone) - will be combined with Ajinomoto's pharmaceutical subsidiary, which has developed drugs such as alcoholic liver disease therapy Livact/Livamin (leucine, isoleucine and valine)  and also focuses on contract manufacturing as well as researching new GI therapies.

The two companies already have an existing working relationship, as Eisai is the licensee for Livamin in a number of markets including China and Hong Kong.

EA Pharma is due to start operating on April 1, 2016, with Ajinomoto Pharma's chief executive Takashi Nagamachi serving as chairman and Eisai's corporate officer Hajime Shimizu taking on the role of president. 

Akira Shinji - another Ajinomoto executive - has been named as the new company's managing director, and the company will have around 1,250 employees.

The combined company will have a product line-up that "comprehensively covers the upper and lower digestive tract, as well as the liver and pancreas", according to documents explaining the rationale for the merger.

The combined pipeline includes several projects in late-stage testing - including E3810, a new formulation of rabeprazole for reflux oesophagitis, oral alpha 4 integrin antagonist AJM300 for ulcerative colitis and IBAT inhibitor AJG533 for chronic constipation. 

In addition, a new Crohn's disease candidate E6011 (an anti-fractalkine antibody) coming through phase II testing.

Article by
Phil Taylor

15th October 2015

From: Sales



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