Takeda’s US subsidiary, Takeda America Holdings, has agreed to acquire the vaccine specialist company LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals for an upfront payment of $60 million in a move intended to bolster and expand the company’s vaccine business. Future payments may also be made depending on the progress of LigoCyte’s development projects.
LigoCyte is a US-based biopharmaceutical company that uses its proprietary virus-like particle (VLP) platform technology to develop new vaccines. The comapny’s lead product is a norovirus vaccine that can prevent multiple varieties of the illness. According to a press statement, the vaccine has been shown to provide protection against the norovirus in an initial human challenge trial. The company intends to seek approval for the vaccine in the US, Europe, and other regions.
LigoCyte has also begun preclinical development of other vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, and rotavirus.
In a statement, Rajeev Venkayya, the executive vice-president of Takeda’s Vaccine Business Division, said, “Norovirus is the most common cause of outbreaks of gastroenteritis and foodborne illness in the US, and is responsible for 200,000 deaths each year, most of them in developing countries. With the only norovirus vaccine in clinical trials today, Takeda will be in a position to change this picture.”
Takeda intends to continue operating LigoCyte at its current location in Bozeman, Montana, for the foreseeable future and will retain the management team and its employees. Once the acquisition is complete, the management team will become a part of Takeda’s Vaccine Business Division, which was launched in January 2012.
The deal is expected to close by the end of November 2012, pending the satisfactory clearance of closing conditions.