Dainippon bags Boston Biomedical and cancer stem cell tech in $2.6B buyout

Boston Biomedical's focus on targeting cancer stem cells has paid off. Japan's Dainippon Sumitomo has snapped up the biotech for $200 million down, $540 million in development milestones for its two clinical-stage programs and close to $1.9 billion in commercial milestones, provided the drugs can achieve mega-blockbuster status.

In exchange for the cash and the promise of biobucks to come, Dainippon gets BBI608 and BBI503 and a new subsidiary in the U.S. which will spearhead its expansion in the cancer drug R&D field. The pharma company boasts that the two drugs are "likely to become the first anticancer drugs in the world targeting cancer stem cells." BBI608 is being prepped for a Phase III clinical trial for colorectal cancer in North America and in Phase Ib and II clinical trials for various solid tumors. BBI503 is in Phase I clinical trial for patients with various advanced solid tumors in North America.

Dainippon is following a common practice among Japanese pharma companies. Rather than absorb the biotech into its business, it's keeping BBI's operation in the Boston area and planning to beef up its work in the cancer field as it embraces new approaches to treating metastatic cases.

"Acquisition of BBI is not only an acquisition of an innovative pipeline in the oncology area, it also represents obtaining an excellent drug discovery/development platform with the capabilities of BBI, enabling us to continuously create candidate compounds likely to advance into later development stages," says Dainippon CEO Masayo Tada. "Subsequently we intend to establish our R&D base in the US to expand our presence in cancer treatment globally. We are aiming to make the oncology area one of our future focus therapeutic areas next to the CNS area."

Dainippon licensed regional rights to BBI608 back in April, 2011. Evidently they like what they've been seeing since.

- here's the press release