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Sumitomo Dainippon, Biotechs in $3B Acquisition Deal

Laptops on a table

(, Pexels)

6 Sept. 2019. Japanese pharmaceutical company Sumitomo Dainippon agreed to acquire five biotechnology companies and gain an equity stake in the Roivant Sciences group. The deal, which also gives Sumitomo Dainippon access to Roivant’s technology platforms and an option to buy six more of its companies, provides Roivant Sciences an immediate payout of $3 billion.

Roivant Sciences, based in London and Basel, Switzerland, is a collection of companies, each formed to address a specific need. Roivant calls the individual companies Vants with each of the companies focusing on a particular disease or technology type. Roivant Sciences says it now has 45 therapies in various stage of preclinical development or clinical trials. In November 2018, Science & Enterprise reported on the formation of Aruvant Sciences, licensing research from Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center to develop a treatment for sickle cell disease, now in a clinical trial.

The agreement gives Sumitomo Dainippon, based in Tokyo, ownership of …

Myovant Sciences, specializing in womens’ health and prostate cancer

Urovant Sciences, working on urinary diseases

Enzyvant Therapeutics, focusing on pediatric rare diseases

Altavant Sciences, specializing in rare respiratory diseases

… and one other current Roivant company to be determined before the deal is finalized at the end of October. Sumitomo Dainippon also has options to gain ownership of six more Vants, which with the first five companies, account for 25 of Roivant’s clinical programs.

In addition, Sumitomo Dainippon is acquiring parts of the technologies used by Roivant Sciences for its business operations. These include DrugOme, a platform for assessing pipeline acquisition and clinical development, and Digital Innovation, to improve business processes with digital technology. Roivant will continue to use these technology platforms under the agreement. Moreover, Sumitomo Dainippon will gain access to Roivant Sciences health technology companies Datavant for managing electronic health records, and Alyvant for health data analytics.

The deal gives Sumitomo Dainippon an equity stake in Roivant Sciences of at least 10 percent of its outstanding shares, with Roivant receiving an immediate cash payment of $3 billion.

Hiroshi Nomura, Sumitomo Dainippon’s president and CEO says in a joint statement, that a purpose of the alliance with Roivant is to give his company “growth engines after expiry of the U.S. market exclusivity of Latuda”, the brand name for lurasidone, a drug to treat schizophrenia. Nomura also aims to transform Sumitomo Dainippon into a company with, “a novel pharmaceutical business model leveraging data and digital technologies.”

For Roivant Sciences, the deal provides a partner with a worldwide commercial presence. “Sumitomo Dainippon’s expertise in commercializing major products globally,” says Roivant’s founder and CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, “combined with support from our technology-oriented Vants and the central Roivant platform, will enhance the value of the product portfolio included in this alliance.”

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