Abigail Klein Leichman
July 24, 2017, Updated July 30, 2017

NeuroDerm, an Israeli clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing next-generation treatments for central nervous system disorders, will be acquired for $1.1 billion in cash by Japanese company Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation.

The deal, expected to close in late 2017 pending shareholder approval, reportedly would be the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli pharmaceuticals company. The transaction will be completed by way of a merger under the Israeli Companies Law.

NeuroDerm’s drug-device combinations enable new routes of administration for existing drugs that overcome their current deficiencies and achieve enhanced clinical efficacy.

Its portfolio of four product candidates specifically addresses major unmet needs in the field of Parkinson’s disease and cognition, from the moderate to the most severe stage of the disease.

“We believe that this transaction will yield important benefits for NeuroDerm’s shareholders and the Parkinson’s disease patients that urgently need new therapies,” said NeuroDerm CEO Dr. Oded Lieberman.

Mitsubishi Tanabe is banking on Neuroderm’s Parkinson’s drug, now in advanced clinical trials in the United States and Europe, to help it reach a US sales target of $722 million by 2020.

The deal will be the largest acquisition of an Israeli company by a Japanese company since Rakuten’s $900 million purchase of chat app Viber in 2014.

NeuroDerm, based in Rehovot, expects to launch two Parkinson’s products in the next two years.

“This is a Phase 3 company that started in 2003 in one of our incubators in the south, and we supported it until 2015 when it achieved its first milestone. It’s very gratifying and a great sign for our industry,” says Anya Eldan, vice president of the Israel Innovation Authority and head of its startup division.

The company originally was founded by a trio of friends: Eliyahu Heldman, now a professor emeritus of biochemistry and pharmacology at Ben-Gurion University, Dr. Moshe Kushnir and Dr. Haim Shlesinger, with the idea of delivering levodopa subcutaneously using a mini pump.

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