OPKO Health acquires Israel’s PROLOR Biotech for $480m

Merger to produce new medications for sufferers of growth hormone deficiency, hemophilia, obesity and diabetes.

PROLOR Biotech and OPKO Health researchers are working on new drug-products for hemophilia, obesity and diabetes. (Shutterstock.com)

PROLOR Biotech and OPKO Health researchers are working on new drug-products for hemophilia, obesity and diabetes. (Shutterstock.com)

Pharmaceutical giant OPKO Health has signed a deal to acquire Nes-Ziona-based PROLOR Biotech for $480 million in an all-stock transaction.

PROLOR is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing longer-acting proprietary versions of already approved therapeutic proteins.

The Israeli company is behind a long-acting version of human growth hormone, hGH-CTP, which has successfully completed four clinical trials, including a Phase II trial in adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD). The trials showed that hGH-CTP has the potential to reduce the required dosing frequency of human growth hormone from the current standard of one injection per day to a single weekly injection. hGH-CTP has been awarded orphan drug designation in the U.S. and Europe for both adults and children with GHD.

PROLOR is also developing Factor VIIa and Factor IX for Hemophilia (a $2 billion market opportunity); Anti-Obesity Peptide Oxyntomodulin; and Atherosclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis long-acting therapies.

“We believe this transaction recognizes the value we have created at PROLOR and provides our shareholders with attractive economic terms, as well as the opportunity to continue to share in the success of the combined company,” said Shai Novik, President of PROLOR. “We believe that OPKO’s track record of commitment to innovation and growth, along with its diversified portfolio of innovative therapeutic and diagnostic products, growing international presence, ongoing investments in commercial infrastructure and highly experienced management team make this combination an excellent fit for PROLOR.”

OPKO is a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that sells products for the early detection of Vitamin D deficiency, prostate cancer, and Alzheimer’s Disease (in collaboration with the pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb). It also has three drugs in clinical development.

Billionaire Dr. Phillip Frost had an insider’s view of PROLOR’s expertise before purchasing the company. Now the CEO and chairman of OPKO Health, in the past Frost was also the chairman of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Prolor Biotech.

“This transaction is consistent with OPKO’s stated objective of broadening our portfolio of market-transforming therapies in selected specialty markets,” said Frost. “With the inclusion of PROLOR’s pipeline, OPKO will have four significant products in Phase III clinical development and a robust pipeline of important therapeutic and unique diagnostic products in various stages of development. PROLOR’s drug-product candidates for growth hormone deficiency, hemophilia, obesity and diabetes, along with its broadly applicable technology platforms and efficient research and development center are highly valuable assets that will complement OPKO’s strategy.”

“Leveraging the combined resources of both companies not only strengthens our various development programs, but also underscores our commitment to providing patients with next-generation therapies that may improve their health and quality of life,” added Dr. Abraham Havron, Chief Executive Officer of PROLOR.

Photo by Shutterstock.com.

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.