Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co has hit the acquisition trail in Europe and is buying the UK’s privately-owned Paradigm Therapeutics for an undisclosed sum.

Paradigm, which was founded by University of Cambridge researchers in 1999 and has a subsidiary in Singapore, claims to have “world-class target identification and validation capabilities” based on genetic engineering and in vivo pharmacology and has already developed a promising pipeline of drug discovery targets and compounds in pain, central nervous system disorders, prostate and breast cancer, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and obesity. The firm will be renamed Takeda Cambridge when the deal closes in the next few weeks.

Takeda and Paradigm are partners of long-standing, having signed a CNS alliance in 2005, and the UK firm’s chief executive Alastair Riddell said that “this deal represents a logical and positive extension to that.” Yasuchika Hasegawa, president of Takeda, said his company was excited about the transaction, which will add “another research base equipped with the state-of-the-art technologies expected to further improve Takeda's research efficiency."

He noted that the firm now have research bases in Japan, the USA, Europe and Singapore, claiming that the acquisition “ will support enhancement of our R&D pipeline as a source for future growth, and the realisation of our goal to become a truly world-class pharmaceutical company."

The Paradigm purchase could be the first of many for the Japanese drugmaker which has frequently stated its desire to expand further internationally, and is believed to have an acquisition warchest containing up to $10 billion.