Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. today announced its acquisition of Artisan Pharma, Inc., establishing it as a wholly-owned subsidiary. As part of this acquisition, Artisan has changed its name to Asahi Kasei Pharma America Corp. (AKP America). The transaction establishes a United States presence for Asahi Kasei Pharma and also provides access to the global development and commercialization of ART-123 (recombinant human thrombomodulin alpha, marketed as Recomodulin(R) in Japan) in severe sepsis patients with coagulopathy. Asahi Kasei Pharma established Artisan Pharma (now AKP America) in 2006 with several venture capital firms, licensing ART-123 to Artisan for global development.
Mr. Naoyuki Ono has joined the company as President and Chief Executive Officer, while Dr. Inder Kaul remains with the company as President of Product Development and Chief Medical Officer. AKP America will be actively hiring up to 25 new employees in the Boston area over the next few months to support product development efforts.
“This acquisition reflects Asahi Kasei Pharma’s confidence in the global potential for ART-123,” said Mr. Ono. “With the support of our parent company, AKP America plans to initiate a large, multi-country Phase 3 trial of ART-123 in 2012, following positive results from the Phase 2b study, the results of which we plan to release in 2012.” “Asahi Kasei Pharma America provides an important foothold for us in the United States to develop and reach global markets with our products,” said Dr. Kazuyoshi Hori, Senior Executive Officer and Board Member of Asahi Kasei Pharma. “We have been impressed by the sales of ART-123 (Recomodulin(R)) in the Japanese market since launch in 2008, and we look forward to completing development for the global markets, including the U.S., where there is a tremendous unmet medical need.” “This great news has energized us to continue the development of this compound, and we are confident that we will bring forth the promise this product holds,” added Dr. Kaul.