Shares in UK group ProStrakan were on the rise yesterday as investors welcomed news that Japan's Kyowa Hakko Kirin (KHK) has agreed to buy the firm.

The Galashiels, Scotland-based drugmaker's stock swelled more than 20% after KHK said it would pay £292 million, or 130 pence per share, to take the the company under its wing.

ProStrakan describes itself as a fast-growing specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and commercialises prescription medicines designed to address unmet therapeutic needs in major markets.

But the company has not had the best of time of late. Last September, its share price collapsed after it emerged it would not be able to meet demand for Sancuso, a transdermal patch for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, while also announcing delays to the US approval of its cancer pain drug Abstral and resignation of chief executive Wilson Totten.

In what is hoped might be a change in fortune, ProStrakan says the acquisition represents a new opportunity for continued development that could ultimately allow the business to grow at a faster pace and "offer to patients and clinicians across Europe and the US, in time, a broader range of medicines". 

Nice fit?

"The fit between ProStrakan and KHK is unmistakeable in terms of products, geography and infrastructure and we believe that the price being offered by KHK fully values ProStrakan’s ongoing growth prospects", added Peter Allen, company chairman and acting chief executive.

The proposed deal follows a spurned offer from Dutch group Norgine - which owns nearly 13% of ProStrakan - last November, which the Scottish group reportedly felt was an inadequate representation of its value.

Shareholders will get the opportunity to vote on KHK's offer in April and, if successful, the deal will be effective by June, the firm said.