In a bid to strengthen its position in pet therapeutics,
Aratana Therapeutics, Inc
) recently announced that it has acquired Belgium-based Okapi
Okapi owns a proprietary pet therapeutics antiviral platform
and currently has five candidates in its pipeline being developed
for treating viral diseases.
As per the terms of the acquisition, Aratana paid
approximately €10.3 million in cash to the equity holders of
Okapi. Aratana also issued a promissory note for €11 million with
a maturity date of Dec 31, 2014 subject to mandatory prepayment
in the event of an equity financing. In addition, Aratana agreed
to pay an additional €12 million in cash or shares as per the
terms stated in the purchase agreement within 90 days.
Aratana, a biopharmaceutical company, focuses exclusively on
pets. Hence, the acquisition of Okapi will further bolster its
position in pet therapeutics, particularly in Europe. The lead
antiviral product candidate in Okapi's pipeline is being
developed as a treatment of ocular disease caused by feline
herpes virus in cats. Once approved, Aratana plans to
commercialize the product under an existing development and
commercialization agreement with the Animal Health unit of
The pipeline also includes a product for the treatment of
feline immunodeficiency virus and additional antiviral and
oncology products for both cats and dogs.
Moreover, the acquisition will allow Aratana to benefit from
the development agreements which Okapi has forged with leading
universities in Europe.
Aratana currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some
better-ranked stocks in the biopharmaceutical sector include
). Both carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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