Neopharm Group said it closed today on its acquisition of the biotech subsidiary of Fresenius SE & Co. for an undisclosed price, the culmination of a long sales partnership between the companies in Neopharm’s home country.

Fresenius Biotech and two other Fresenius SE subsidiaries have all distributed products in Israel through Neopharm Group, which says it is setting its sights beyond helping multinational biopharmaceutical and medical companies enter or expand into the Israeli healthcare market.

“The acquisition of Fresenius Biotech is a cornerstone in our strategic objective to transform Neopharm Group into a multinational fully-integrated biopharmaceutical company,” David Fuhrer, Neopharm’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Fresenius Biotech represents a unique fit to our growth strategy.”

He cited in part Fresenius Biotech’s success in researching, developing, manufacturing, and marketing rare-disease treatments. The subsidiary has two antibody therapies on the market: One is ATG-Fresenius S®, designed to suppress rejection of transplanted organs by binding to the T-lymphocytes of patients. The polyclonal antibody has been in use since 1981 for both organ and stem cell transplants.

The other therapy, Removab® (catumaxomab), is designed to treat patients when standard treatment is not available or feasible for malignant ascites, an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (peritoneal cavity) resulting from carcinomas. Developed with TRION Pharma, Removab is a trifunctional antibody that destroys cells from EpCAM positive carcinomas. The antibody recognizes the EpCAM protein on the surface of cancer cells, then simultaneously recruits and activates immune cells to destroy those cancer cells.

“Our objective is to establish Fresenius Biotech as an independent, rapidly growing innovative company that brings hope to patients suffering from rare, life-threatening diseases with unmet medical needs across the world,” Fuhrer added. “This will be accomplished via sustainable development and worldwide marketing efforts of existing products, together with synergetic acquisitions and licensing to support geographical and pipeline expansion.”

The deal comes six months after Fresenius disclosed plans to sell its biotech subsidiary, which has 150 employees and generates sales in 60 countries.

Fresenius Biotech finished last year with a €26 million ($33.9 million) loss in earnings before interest and taxes, slightly better than 2011’s EBIT loss of €30 million ($39.1 million). The loss came despite a 14% jump in sales, to €34.9 million ($45.5 million) from €30.7 million ($40 million) in 2011.

ATG-Fresenius S continued to be profitable in 2012, with sales rising 15% year-over-year to €30.8 million ($40.1 million). Removab sales grew by 3% over 2011, to €4.1 million ($5.3 million).

Established in 1941, Neopharm Group has 580 employees serving the pharmaceutical, medical, and healthcare markets. The company generates more than $350 million in annual revenue. 

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