OPKO Health to acquire Prolor Biotech for $480M

OPKO Health ($OPK) announced today that it is poised to acquire Israel-based Prolor Biotech in an all-stock transaction valued at $480 million, or $7 per share of Prolor common stock.

In an official statement, OPKO CEO Dr. Phillip Frost said the acquisition represents the biotech's objective of broadening its portfolio of market-transforming therapies in certain specialty markets.

"With the inclusion of PROLOR's pipeline, OPKO will have four significant products in Phase III clinical development and a robust pipeline of important therapeutic and unique diagnostic products in various stages of development," said Frost, who is also chairman of Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA), the world's largest generic manufacturer.

Prolor, which focuses on developing and commercializing longer-acting proprietary versions of already approved therapeutic proteins, will add its version of human growth hormone, hGH-CTP, to OPKO's portfolio. In a successful series of four clinical trials, including a Phase II trial in adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD), hGH-CTP demonstrated a good safety and tolerability profile in patients. A Phase II trial in children with GHD is currently under way, and a Phase III trial in adults with GHD is likely to begin later this year. hGH-CTP, which is injected once weekly, could be a promising alternative to the current standard of care for GHD, which requires daily injections of hormones. It has won orphan drug designation in the U.S. and Europe for both adults and children with GHD.

Prolor also has long-acting clotting factors for hemophilia in preclinical development that are based on the company's Carboxyl Terminal Peptide (CTP) technology, which can be attached to an array of existing therapeutic proteins to stabilize the therapy in the bloodstream and extend the length of time the protein remains active in the body. Four of these endocrine proteins are licensed to Merck ($MRK)--one of which, the long-acting fertility drug Elonva, is already marketed by Merck & Co. in Europe.   

Under the terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed during the second half of 2013, holders of Prolor common stock will receive 0.9951 shares of OPKO common stock for each share of Prolor common stock.     

- here's the press release
- read the Reuters item

Special Report: Dr. Phillip Frost - Fierce's 10 top biotech billionaires