Sosei Group said it will acquire Jitsubo for ¥431 million (about $3.6 million), in a deal that will expand the buyer’s offerings beyond respiratory treatments to branded and generic peptide products.

The deal, set to close December 26, is subject to Sosei acquiring a majority stake in Jitsubo by underwriting a third-party allocation for 68,871 new “Class D” shares to be issued that day by Jitsubo. In addition, Sosei will acquire 69,490 outstanding shares from existing shareholders, giving the company 52.4% of Jitsubo issued shares.

Sosei said it reached an agreement to acquire shares from eight individual shareholders whose names and addresses were not disclosed. Once the deal is completed, Jitsubo will become a subsidiary of Sosei.

Until now, Sosei has generated revenue from milestones and royalty payments from two COPD products licensed to Novartis, Seebri® Breezhaler® and Ultibro® Breezhaler®. Both have been launched in Europe and Japan, but are in Phase III studies in the U.S.

In January, Sosei transferred the Japan approved marketing authorization for its NorLevo®, a branded emergency contraceptive sold in Japan and Australia, to Aska Pharmaceutical. Sosei also has Japanese marketing rights to the antifungal agent miconazole—sold as Micatin in the U.S. but designated SO-1105 by Sosei— for oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) in immunocompromised patients, but in February inked an agreement to commercialize the drug with Fujifilm Pharma in Japan.

Sosei’s pipeline also includes two infectious eye disease treatments based on Activus Pharma milling technology and now in preclinical phases—APP13002, which has been developed to treat disorders that include infectious cornea inflammation and infectious conjunctivitis—and APP13007, indicated for inflammatory eye diseases and expected to offer a more potent anti-inflammatory effect compared to existing drugs, according to the company.

By acquiring Jitsubo, Sosei looks to grow by developing new drugs based on peptide analog compounds synthesized and isolated through Jitsubo’s Molecular HivingTM peptide synthesis technology and the molecule modification technology, PeptuneTM

Molecular Hiving is a liquid-phase peptide synthesis technology designed to minimize the high cost of solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS), which has limited its use to small-scale manufacturing; as well as enable long-chain peptide synthesis within the larger-scale manufacturing application of liquid-phase peptide synthesis (LPPS).

Peptune, launched in 2011, enables arbitrary alteration of a peptide’s molecular configuration, without changing its amino acid sequence. Its high structural diversity compared with existing similar technologies makes possible improvements in pharmacological function and stability based on the peptide’s molecular configuration. Peptune also allows for introduction of new functional molecules via cross-linkage, which is designed to enable production of new functional peptides.

“Through the acquisition of Jitsubo, the Group acquires a state-of-the-art technology that has a potential to become a generator of future revenue and growth,” Sosei said yesterday in a statement.

Jitsubo was established in April 2005 by Kazuhiro Chiba, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the United Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, with the aim of commercializing his scientific findings.


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