Daiichi snares Germany's U3 in $235M acquisition

Daiichi Sankyo is buying Germany's U3 Pharma for $235 million in cash. The Japanese pharma company gains a developer that's been winning kudos for its work developing antibodies to fight a variety of cancers. And its lead program is bound for the clinic later this year.

Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners has been backing U3 since 2003, when it was won over by the research work of Axel Ullrich of the Max Planck Institute. Ullrich's research has helped create such cancer blockbusters as Herceptin and Sutent.

"Our acquisition of U3 Pharma is an ideal strategic fit for our oncology portfolio," said Takashi Shoda, president and CEO of Daiichi Sankyo. "We currently have three human monoclonal antibodies in development. Additionally, in March, 2008, we announced that we were expanding our joint research venture with another German company, MorphoSys, for its advanced Human Combinatorial Antibody Library and its phage display technologies."

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