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Otsuka expands CNS presence with Avanir purchase

Deal for US biotech is valued at $3.5bn
Nuedexta

Japan-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical has agreed to buy the California biotech Avanir for $3.5bn, expanding its business in diseases of the central nervous system (CNS).

The acquisition will see Otsuka take control of Avanir's portfolio of neurology products, including Nuedexta (dextromethorphan/quinidine), the only approved treatment for pseudobulbar affect (PBA), a neurologic disorder characterised by uncontrollable episodes of crying and/or laughing.

Avanir also has a promising pipeline, including the compound AVP-786, which is being prepared for phase III trials investigating its use in agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease.

The company is also developing drugs in Parkinson's disease and other CNS indications.

Taro Iwamoto, president of Otsuka, said: “As we bring together Otsuka's experience and business track record in the area of mental illnesses with Avanir's strengths in neurologic diseases, we believe that we can evolve into a truly global CNS pharmaceutical company.”

Keith Katkin, president and CEO of Avanir, commented: “Otsuka is a clear lead in psychiatry and Avanir in neurology; together I believe our organisations will be able to more rapidly develop and commercialise needed medications to potentially help millions of patients around the world.”

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

3rd December 2014

From: Research, Sales

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