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Amgen acquires Forbion portfolio company Dezima Pharma

Forbion Capital Partners’ portfolio company, Dezima Pharma, a biotechnology company developing innovative drugs to treat dyslipidemic patients suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD), is to be acquired by Amgen, Inc.

Amgen has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of Dezima for up to USD1.55 billion from Forbion and other current shareholders, subject to obtaining US Federal Trade Commission clearance. Further details of the acquisition include an upfront payment of USD300 million, milestone payments of up to USD1.25 billion and low-single-digit royalties on net product sales above a certain threshold.
Dezima was founded in 2012 by Prof. John Kastelein, Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The team at Forbion recognized early on the potential of TA-8995, an oral, once-daily CETP inhibitor and helped to found, fund and staff the company, including in-licensing this lead asset from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC). Forbion and its affiliate BioGeneration Ventures then brought in other investors including New Science Ventures, and also Rob de Ree, its current CEO.
 
Last June, Dezima’s TULIP (“TA-8995: its Use in patients with mild dysLIPidemia”) study was published in The Lancet (full article can be found HERE) showing potent effects in treating patients with dyslipidemia. The TULIP study showed that TA-8995, both as monotherapy and on top of statins, caused significant decrease of LDL and simultaneous increase of cholesterol efflux capacity.
 
Sander Slootweg, Forbion’s Managing Partner and Chairman of Dezima, says: “Dezima is the poster child of a successful modern start-up company. Several of our team and advisors, including Prof. John Kastelein, filled critical management positions, such as interim CEO, CFO and project management. Xention Ltd, one of our UK portfolio companies, designed and executed the required pre-clinical studies and optimized the manufacturing of the product.” Slootweg added, “Today’s acquisition and the value that Amgen has set on the company, validates our belief in the team and the science. Dezima will be a great fit for Amgen and complements its other products targeting high cholesterol.”
 
“There has been an auspicious coming together of key elements leading up to this acquisition by Amgen: the combination of great chemistry by MTPC which designed TA-8995, our skilled and experienced pre-clinical and clinical development team led by Dr John Ford and Dr Patrick Round in Cambridge (UK) coupled with smart capital provided by Forbion, NSV and BGV,” says Professor John Kastelein, CSO and founder of Dezima. “I am proud to be part of this exceptional team and company, and I now look forward to working with Amgen to speed this highly promising product to market and to patients as soon as we can.”
 
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will receive a portion of the upfront payment and future development and sales milestones from Dezima. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma will also retain development and commercialization rights to TA-8995 in certain territories in Asia, including Japan.
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"The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings in 2016, adding predictable fee revenue derived from long-term CLO management contracts," adds John Bray, NewStar's Chief Financial Officer. "We were able to complete thorough due diligence and the terms of the transaction worked well for all parties.  We expect the business to contribute meaningfully to EPS in 2016 and be accretive to our equity returns."
 
"We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to join NewStar and build on the combined platform with their strong sponsorship," says Andrea Feingold, co-founder of FOC Partners. "As part of NewStar, we see an exciting opportunity to offer differentiated investment strategies that leverage the company's proprietary deal flow in addition to growing AUM across the core platform, particularly in liquid loan strategies offered through our CLO products."

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