Transaction Case Studies

Japan collaboration for novel anemia biologic executed within 7 months

Situation Assessment

  • Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage, public biopharmaceutical company (Nasdaq:PIRS) developing drugs for anemia, cancer, asthma, and other conditions based on its proprietary, cutting-edge Anticalin® platform, a novel class of protein therapeutics.
  • Pieris was interested in securing a Japanese partner for their novel hepcidin antagonist, PRS-080, for the treatment of renal anemia in hemodialysis patients.
  • In Q3 2016, Pieris engaged Locust Walk to assist in expediting an Asian transaction for PRS-080. Locust Walk initiated outreach in August 2016.
  • In February 2017, Pieris and Locust Walk successfully negotiated an option agreement for PRS-080 between Pieris and ASKA Pharmaceutical for the territories of Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries, which included a $2.75 M upfront option fee and more than $80M in success-based payments as well as double-digit royalties

Key Activities

  • Locust Walk reached out to Japanese companies with expertise in kidney, urology and anemia therapeutic areas, leveraging our network with business development executives across large, medium and small companies in Japan.
  • Our outreach resulted in a competitive partnering process, as multiple companies entered into confidential diligence, with a few companies submitting non-binding term sheets.
  • Locust Walk assisted the Pieris team by promptly addressing key questions that arose during the diligence process. This included identifying and speaking with experts in Japan who aided in answering key diligence questions.
  • Locust Walk met regularly with top executives at ASKA to understand the key issues inside ASKA that could impact transactability, and supported Pieris in negotiations with ASKA regarding deal structure and economics.

Successful Outcome

  • Pieris engaged Locust Walk in 3Q 2016 to drive the process for securing an Asian partnership to the most beneficial conclusion. Our combined efforts led to Pieris and ASKA consummating an partnering arrangement for rights to PRS-080 in Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries on February 27, 2017, less than 7 months after Locust Walk was engaged by Pieris.
  • Under the terms of the partnership, ASKA will pay a $2.75M upfront option fee and more than $80M in milestones to Pieris. ASKA will also share in the development costs and pay royalties to Pieris on sales of PRS-080 in the ASKA licensed territories.

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CLIENT: Pieris

PARTNER: ASKA Pharmaceutical

Sell-side Japan/Asia collaboration PRS-080