Ebola drug maker Fujifilm to buy US vaccinemaker

Tokyo – Fujifilm said Monday it would buy a US
vaccine maker as the Japanese firm boosts its
supply of an experimental Ebola drug to help
stem the spread of the virus.
The deal would see Fujifilm take a 49 percent
stake in Kalon Biotherapeutics, with plans to buy
the whole company “in the future”, the company
said, without supplying financial details.
Japan’s leading Nikkei business daily said the
acquisition would be worth several billion yen
(tens of millions of dollars).
Kalon, established in 2011 by the State of Texas
and Texas A&M University as a contract maker
of biopharmaceutical products, can safely handle
and produce vaccines against deadly pathogens,
including anthrax, Fujifilm said, as it looks to
further tap the health sector.

The firm’s shares jumped 2.88 percent to
3,691.0 yen in Tokyo on Monday.
Fujifilm said last week it would increase its stock
of Avigan, which has been given to several
patients who were evacuated from Ebola-hit
West Africa to Europe.
The firm said it has enough Avigan tablets —
approved as an influenza drug in Japan — to
treat 20,000 people and enough of its active
ingredient for 300,000 treatments.
Some research papers report that Avigan has
been effective in testing with mice, the company
said.
The governments of France and Guinea are
planning to conduct clinical trials with Avigan in
mid-November.
Like some other major Japanese firms, Fujifilm,
once among the biggest makers of camera film,
has been transitioning into new sectors as it
traditional business suffers.

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