Upsher-Smith to Buy British Biotech Firm for $554.7M

The companies have worked closely for the past four years; both focus on therapies for diseases of the central nervous system, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Maple Grove-based pharmaceutical company Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy British biotechnology company Proximagen Group for $554.7 million.

Proximagen is a public company that focuses on the development and commercialization of therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Privately held Upsher-Smith also focuses on therapies for the same types of diseases. It makes products relating to cardiology, dermatology, and women’s health as well—and it has an emerging neurology pipeline, with three such products in clinical development.

“We have been very impressed with the quality and breadth of Proximagen’s portfolio of programs, and the commitment and expertise of Proximagen’s employees,” Upsher-Smith President and CEO Mark Evenstad said in a statement. “Having worked closely with Proximagen as both a commercial partner and a strategic shareholder since 2008, we believe that Proximagen has significant potential and we are excited about the opportunity of bringing new therapies to market that will benefit patients.”

Upsher-Smith acquired a 7 percent stake in Proximagen in 2008. As of late March, it had a 16 percent stake, according to Proximagen’s 2011 annual report.

Proximagen’s board unanimously recommended the just-announced acquisition, but it is subject to approval by Proximagen shareholders and various other terms and conditions.

Upsher-Smith plans to retain Proximagen’s operations in Cambridge and London, England.