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2024-01-17| Asia-PacificM&A

Bora Pharmaceuticals Makes First U.S. Acquisition to Buy Upsher-Smith for $210 Million

by Richard Chau
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Bora Pharmaceuticals, Taiwan’s leading biotech CDMO company, announced on January 16 that its Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of Upsher-Smith Laboratories, a generic drug company with a history of over 100 years. Bora plans to acquire 100% of Upsher-Smith’s shares from shareholders, Sawai Group Holdings and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas for $210 million, with the transaction slated to close in the second half of 2024.

This deal, Bora’s first-ever acquisition of a U.S.-based company, not only underscores the company’s eagerness to expand into the massive North American market, but also signifies that the Taiwan-based biopharma company is on track to provide more comprehensive manufacturing services to CDMO customers around the world.

Related article: JPM 2024: Taiwan’s Pharma Giant Bora Pharmaceuticals Climbing US Pharmaceutical Summit

Acquisition of a Century-old U.S. Pharma Company to Strengthen CDMO Capability

Founded in 1919, Upsher-Smith has manufacturing facilities in the cities of Plymouth and Maple Grove in Minnesota. The company began by developing heart failure medications through the refining of Digitalis, and over the past century has grown into a sizable generic drug manufacturer, with an existing portfolio of 48 generic products covering a wide range of therapeutic areas including cardiovascular disease, migraines, depression, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s Disease. In April 2017, Upsher-Smith won the favor of Sawai Pharmaceutical, a major Japanese generic drugmaker, which spent $1.05 billion to acquire the Minnesota-based pharma as the first step to explore the overseas market.

Upsher-Smith’s facilities are capable of packaging and commercializing drugs in a variety of dosage forms, including oral solids, powders (oral and topical) and liquids, presenting a highly attractive opportunity for Bora to expand its global CDMO business. Moreover, Upsher-Smith’s long-established generic business also played its part in capturing Bora’s attention. The acquisition of TWi Pharmaceuticals in June 2022 allowed Bora to further expand its generic CDMO capacity. Leveraging Upsher-Smith’s U.S. market experience, industry expertise and know-how, as well as diversified product pipeline, it is expected to strengthen TWi’s product development and marketing capabilities, expanding its portfolio and access to the vast U.S. market.

Bora’s Inaugural U.S. Acquisition, with North American Expansion and Global Reach

In March 2020, Bora announced the acquisition of a facility in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, from pharmaceutical giant GSK for NT$830 million. The transaction was completed in December of the same year, and Bora has since established its foothold in North America. The acquisition of Upsher-Smith is not only Bora’s first acquisition of a U.S. pharma company since its founding in 2007, but is also an important step in expanding its presence in North America.

Bobby Sheng, Chairman and CEO of Bora Group, commented that the acquisition is not only a major milestone to enter the U.S. market, but also significantly enhances Bora’s competitive edge in the global CDMO and prescription drug business. Also, Upsher-Smith’s specialty pharmaceuticals and TWi’s portfolio of products are complementary to each other, creating differentiated distribution channels that will give TWi an advantage in the U.S. commercial sales business. 

He also emphasized that the acquisition is consistent with Bora’s long-term growth objectives and that the newly expanded Upsher-Smith facility, with a total capacity of 3.5 billion doses and FDA approval, will be Bora’s first U.S. manufacturing site and will establish an important hub for local and global CDMO clients.

Bobby Sheng, Chairman and CEO of Bora Pharmaceuticals, recognizes that the acquisition of Upsher-Smith is not only a milestone for Bora’s entry into the U.S. market, but also signifies a significant boost of Bora’s competitiveness in the global biopharma CDMO business. (Bobby’s Photo Credit belongs to IBMI)
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