Israeli drug maker NeuroDerm sold to Japanese pharma giant for $1.1b

Sale to Mitsubishi Tanabe is largest-ever of Israeli healthcare company; firm developing delivery methods for meds that fight Parkinson’s symptoms

Mitsubishi Tanabe headquarters in Osaka, Japan. (screen capture: Google Street View)
Mitsubishi Tanabe headquarters in Osaka, Japan. (screen capture: Google Street View)

Israeli pharmaceutical company NeuroDerm has been sold to Japanese giant Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma for $1.1 billion in cash, the firm announced Monday, in one of the biggest-ever purchases of an Israeli firm outside the high-tech field.

The Israel innovation authority, a government body that gives grants to tech companies, said the sale was the largest ever acquisition of an Israeli healthcare company.

NeuroDerm is researching and developing solutions for disorders relating to the central nervous system, specifically Parkinson’s disease.

The company, which has been supported by grants from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, aims to radically change the way the disease is treated through reformulating existing drugs.

Its current lead product candidate is in advanced clinical trials in Europe and the United States and could hit the market as early as 2019, Mitsubishi Tanabe said.

It is currently developing new methods of delivery for the popular Levodopa/Carbidopa drug combination, used to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s. The drugs are currently taken orally, and, while helpful in alleviating symptoms, their concentrations in the bloodstream fluctuate, making them somewhat unpredictable.

The company says its new developments for continuous subcutaneous delivery will significantly improve the user’s experience, and even prevent the need for surgical intervention in the spine, which may currently be required in severe cases.

The deal with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“We believe the deal will yield important advantages for NeuroDerm shareholders and for Parkinson’s sufferers who urgently require innovative treatments,” NeuroDerm CEO Oded Lieberman said.

“Mitsubishi Tanabe has shown expertise in development and commercialization in the neurological area, and we are certain that combining their resources and data…will help make this new and important treatment available as soon as possible.”

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