Medivir is to acquire fellow Swedish firm BioPhausia in a deal that will "create a platform" for the launch of its promising hepatitis C treatment.

Under the terms of the deal, Medivir is offering a mixture of cash and new shares, thus valuing BioPhausia at around 565 million Swedish kroner (62 million euros) or 1.65 crowns per share. The offer represents a 44% premium over the average price of BioPhausia shares over the last 30 days and the latter's board has unanimously recommended the offer.

The Huddinge-headquartered group says that BioPhausia will provide it with "complementary competencies in regulatory affairs, logistics, distribution, marketing, sales and quality assurance", plus a local presence in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. It also brings quite healthy revenues; turnover in 2010 came in at 506 million kroner, compared to Medivir's 62 million kroner.

Seeking sustainable profits

Ron Long, Medivir's chief executive, said the acquisition brings the firm closer to "achieving its goal of becoming a sustainably profitable, research-based specialty pharmaceutical company". He added that the BioPhausia team will "significantly advance our commercial capabilities as we prepare to realize full value from TMC435".

The latter is a once-daily, protease inhibitor for hepatitis C, which is partnered with Johnson & Johnson affiliate Tibotec and has recently reported positive interim data in three Phase IIb studies. It has moved to Phase III and Medivir has retained full commercial rights to TMC435 in the Nordic region.