Japan-based Asahi Kasei Group, through its subsidiary Asahi Kasei Pharma Denmark, has signed an agreement to acquire Danish pharma company Veloxis Pharmaceuticals for nearly DKK8.9bn ($1.3bn).

The acquisition forms part of Japanese conglomerate’s plan to accelerate its transformation into a global healthcare company.

Established in 2002, Veloxis Pharmaceuticals is a commercial-stage speciality pharmaceutical company. It is involved in the development, manufacturing, and sale of immunosuppressive drugs that are used during and after transplant surgery of organs.

The Danish company had developed Envarsus XR (tacrolimus extended-release tablets), a once-daily immunosuppressant to help prevent organ rejection in people who had a kidney transplant.

Lundbeckfond Invest and Novo Holdings are major stakeholders in Veloxis

Lundbeckfond Invest and Novo Holdings are currently the major stakeholders in Veloxis Pharmaceuticals, each holding 36.6% share.

Under the terms of the agreement, Asahi Kasei will offer DKK6 ($0.88) per share except for shares and warrants owned by two majority shareholders, as well as DKK4.45 ($0.66) per share to Lundbeckfond Invest, Novo Holdings and Veloxis’ board of directors.

Veloxis Pharmaceuticals board of directors chairman Michael Heffernan said: “Veloxis has created significant value for all shareholders which we believe is reflected in this tender offer.

“We are excited about the commitment Asahi Kasei has made to the continued development of Veloxis while also maintaining the Company’s focus on improving the lives of transplant patients.”

Upon completion of the deal, Asahi Kasei plans to boost drug licensing activity by combining its business platform in Japan and Asia with that of Veloxis Pharmaceuticals in the US.

Asahi Kasei president and representative director Hideki Kobori said: “The Asahi Kasei Group is attracted by the results of Veloxis and will actively support the management team’s strategy to drive further value to the business by completing key value creating projects and evaluate potential new strategic options aimed at growing the Veloxis Group’s business while utilizing potential synergies within the Asahi Kasei Group.

“We look forward to the contribution of the Veloxis team to growing our global healthcare business.”

The transaction is subject to antitrust clearances and meeting of other customary closing conditions.