Shares in stem cell group Mesoblast surged to two-month highs on its decision on Friday to outlay up to $US100 million to buy a suite of patents in the US that hold the potential to deliver revenues sooner than expected.
In a deal with US-based Osiris Therapeutic for an initial $US20 million in cash, along with further future payments, Mesoblast is to gain access to two products in their final stage of clinical trials which already hold approvals for sale in Canada and New Zealand, and with the potential to win clearance for launch in the key US market within two years.
"These are substantially derisked," Mesoblast chief executive Silviu Itescu said of the two advanced products, an agent for treating some Crohn's disease cases along with a treatment for bone marrow cases resulting from stem cell transplants.
Mesoblast shares closed up 4.7 per cent on Friday at $5.74.
Like Mesoblast, Osiris has been developing therapeutic products that use so-called mesenchymal stem cells that can help body tissue heal large wounds and repair cartilage and muscle tissue.
Osiris has been producing these stem cells in the US since 1999, and also has a joint venture in Japan.
The acquisition consolidates Mesoblast's position in the regenerative therapies sector, while providing additional growth options, Professor Itescu said.
The acquisition includes approved products in several countries and will "more than double our portfolio of granted patent families encompassing all mesenchymal lineage stem cells", he said. The products will bring forward Mesoblast's projected revenues and provide earlier launch opportunities for products, he said.
A year ago, Osiris regained full control of its prochymal stem cell technology, after terminating a venture with Genzyme potentially worth up to $US1 billion for the US rights alone.
"For $US100 million, Mesoblast is getting two advanced phase-three indications, which is a good deal," Bell Potter analyst Tanushree Jain said.
A key attraction is also the Japan joint venture.