Tuesday, April 28, 2020
JCR Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of ArmaGen, Inc., a privately held US biopharmaceutical company headquartered in San Diego, California ("ArmaGen").
As a result of this acquisition, ArmaGen has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of JCR, providing JCR with a full access to its portfolio of intellectual property rights applicable to a broad disease spectrum, including lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs) in several key markets that ArmaGen owns.
"The acquisition of ArmaGen is a testament of our strong commitment to bring innovative medicines to patients with mucopolysaccharidoses and other LSDs," said Shin Ashida, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of JCR Pharmaceuticals. Based on its J-Brain Cargo® technology to transport molecules across the blood-brain-barrier, JCR has developed multiple assets that can address both, the somatic and neurological disease manifestations in patients with various forms of LSDs. JCR's most advanced J-Brain Cargo® molecule is JR-141, a fusion protein consisting of an antibody against the transferrin receptor and iduronate-2-sulfatase, an enzyme deficient in mucopolysaccharidosis II (Hunter's disease). JR-141 has recently completed a phase II trial in Brazil and is currently in a phase III trial in Japan in patients with MPS II. "Leveraging ArmaGen's strong IP position and abundant knowledge in the field, together with JCR's substantial portfolio in LSDs allows us to further accelerate the global development of our programs. Our aim is to bring this innovation to patients on a global level, consistent with our corporate philosophy. Furthermore, this acquisition enabled us to procure means to hedge IP-related risks in the global development," Mr. Ashida added.
"JCR Pharmaceuticals is a very committed player in the field. Together with its solid in-house manufacturing capabilities it is a unique opportunity to leapfrog its innovative developments for the benefit of patients with desperate unmet medical need. The acquisition of ArmaGen is a synergy in its true sense and can catalyze the global market penetration of JCR's LSD portfolio," expressed Mathias Schmidt, President and CEO of ArmaGen, his excitement about the transaction.
Following the acquisition of ArmaGen, Mathias Schmidt has been nominated as a candidate for new Board Director of JCR to be presented before JCR's ordinary general meeting of shareholders scheduled in June 2020. "Dr. Schmidt has extensive experience in pharmaceutical research, clinical development and corporate management, cultivated from his professional background, notably Lecturer at the University of Constance in Germany, Principal and Head of Biologics Department at Nycomed GmbH, Vice President of Biological Sciences at Takeda California and CEO of ArmaGen. I am convinced that such a seasoned member like Dr. Schmidt shall play a major role in further gearing up JCR in view of its global market reach," commented Mr. Ashida.
Also nominated as a candidate for new Board Director of JCR, is Dr. Hiroyuki Sonoda. "Since his joining JCR in 2003, Dr. Sonoda has demonstrated his extraordinary talents in research as well as his outstanding team building skills. He has been a core member leading our Research Division to date. I expect that he will be instrumental to the success of JCR's research pillars beyond J-Brain Cargo®, such as gene therapies and regenerative medicine. Likewise, his inspiration arising from his vast knowledge will benefit our clinical development. I strongly believe that both Drs. Schmidt and Sonoda will be new driving forces to boost JCR's aspirations as global innovator," added Mr. Ashida about the future direction of JCR.
JCR has been a committed player in the rare disease space for over 25 years, with GROWJECT® (approved in 1993 in Japan for the treatment of short stature primarily caused by growth hormone deficiency) being one of JCR's major products.
Going forward, JCR Pharmaceuticals plans to bring JR-141 as first J-Brain Cargo® LSD program to global development. Pivotal trials are being planned in the USA and Europe. Other programs in the LSD pipeline which are also considered a high priority for global development include JR-171 (for MPS I), JR-441 (for MPS IIIA ), JR-162 (for Pompe's disease), JR-443 (for MPS VII), JR-446 (for MPS IIIB).
As a result of the acquisition, ArmaGen has become a wholly owned subsidiary of JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. JCR plans to utilize ArmaGen's presence in the US to leverage existing knowledge and networks for the global development of its LSD portfolio.