Business / Corporate

Fujifilm to buy U.S. vaccine maker to expand biopharmaceutical business

Kyodo

Fujifilm Corp. said Monday it will acquire U.S. vaccine maker Kalon Biotherapeutics LLC to expand its biopharmaceutical business, with the Tokyo-based firm already having gained prominence for offering a possible treatment for Ebola patients.

A Fujifilm subsidiary in the United States last Wednesday signed an agreement with the owners of Kalon, including the state of Texas, to acquire 49 percent of the total membership interest in Kalon for several billion yen by the end of the year, Fujifilm said.

The subsidiary, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies U.S.A. Inc., will be entitled to appoint a majority of Kalon’s board members. It may later raise its share in Kalon to 100 percent, depending on achievement of certain stages in the development of their relations.

The acquisition of Kalon, which makes vaccines on a contract basis, will help Fujifilm enter the growing market, the photo film and business machinery maker said.

A newcomer to the pharmaceutical industry, Fujifilm gained the global spotlight after one of its flu drugs was used to treat patients infected with the Ebola virus.

Fujifilm last week it will produce the drug Avigan, or favipiravir, developed by subsidiary Toyama Chemical Co., in preparation for their administration to a larger number of Ebola patients. The deadly virus has killed thousands of people in West Africa and infections have also been confirmed in the United States and Europe.