October 31, 2017 / 9:01 AM / 18 days ago

Japan's Kirin cashes out of Amgen drug joint venture

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co Ltd (2503.T) said on Tuesday it would sell its share in a pharmaceutical research joint venture with California-based drugmaker Amgen Inc (AMGN.O) for $780 million.

FILE PHOTO: An Amgen sign is seen at the company's office in South San Francisco, California October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/File Photo

The joint venture, Kirin-Amgen, will buy the Japanese firm’s 50 percent stake and will make further payments to Kirin for certain sales, the Japanese firm said in a statement, adding that the companies saw their collaboration as complete.

Established in 1984 to fund the development of the kidney disease drug Epogen, the joint venture’s scope grew to include, among others, the white blood cell-boosting drugs Neupogen and Neulasta, used during chemotherapy treatment, Amgen said in a separate statement.

Amgen will own product rights and the remaining cash held by the joint venture as the sole shareholder of the joint venture, the companies said. The venture’s licensing agreements in certain Asian countries with Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co Ltd (4151.T), Kirin’s pharmaceutical unit, will remain in place.

Kirin, known primarily as a brewer, said its pharmaceuticals and bio-chemicals business would remain core to the company and would not be affected by the termination of the joint venture agreement. It said the financial impact would be insignificant.

The transaction is expected to close during either the fourth quarter of 2017 or the first quarter of 2018, Amgen said.

Goldman Sachs & Co LLC is acting as the exclusive financial advisor to Amgen on the deal.

Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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