Healthcare boost as new Scottish pharma venture launches with springboard acquisition

A Scottish pharma business led by the former boss of Borders-based ProStrakan has been launched with a maiden acquisition.

Kelso Pharma is headed by Tom Stratford, previously chief executive of Kyowa Kirin International (KKI), the European and US business arm of Japan’s Kyowa Kirin, which purchased ProStrakan Group in 2011.

He is joined in the new venture by former KKI chief financial officer Allan Watson, and former KKI general counsel Andrew McLean.

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Kelso Pharma has joined with Apposite Capital, the healthcare specialist private equity investor, to acquire Stirling Anglian Pharmaceuticals.

Kelso Pharma is headed by Tom Stratford, previously chief executive of Kyowa Kirin International (KKI), the European and US business arm of Japan’s Kyowa Kirin, which purchased ProStrakan Group in 2011.

The purchase of the Glasgow-based company will provide an initial UK platform and a springboard for future sales growth through further acquisitions, product in-licensing and geographic expansion within Europe.

Stirling Anglian’s brand portfolio includes three medicines that are already in the UK healthcare market.

Stratford said: “Our aim is to enhance value for the healthcare system by providing branded medicines that improve the lives of patients in a cost-effective and ethical way.

“Stirling Anglian’s business is a perfect fit with that vision and with Apposite Capital’s financial support it provides us with a UK platform from which to grow, not just in the UK but elsewhere, as we build a pan-European specialty pharma business.

“Stirling Anglian’s product portfolio matches Kelso Pharma’s planned focus on innovative, branded and cost-effective medicines that provide proven benefit to patients while being affordable to the healthcare system.”

The Kelso Pharma team has extensive experience of building and running a European specialty pharma business through mergers and licensing transactions.

The new venture is backed by Apposite Capital, which invests in high potential commercial stage healthcare companies across Europe, with a dozen healthcare businesses in its current investment portfolio.

Apposite managing partner Sam Gray said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such a talented and proven team of executives given their phenomenal track record in executing acquisitive and organic growth in the specialty pharmaceuticals sector.

“Given its growth profile, the acquisition of Stirling Anglian represents an attractive first entry point into the UK market and we share the ambition of the team to create a significant pan-European business with a focus on innovative affordable medicines.”

Stratford added: “Stirling Anglian is a strong and growing UK business into which Kelso Pharma, with the backing of Apposite Capital, will deploy further capital, resources and additional products. We already have a new product launch planned for [the first quarter of 2022].

“We will encourage and focus on innovation in the strong belief that the medicines that our approach will create, or bring to market, will be of benefit to patients while creating value for the healthcare system.”

Stirling Anglian has sourced and developed a portfolio of medicines to help the NHS curb waste, across a range of conditions that currently place “unnecessary and avoidable pressure” on healthcare resources.

Apposite Capital was established in 2006 and is headquartered in London.

Advisers to Apposite Capital and Kelso Pharma include Gowling WLG (legal), Chiene + Tait (financial and tax), EY (legal, tax and M&A) and Shepherd and Wedderburn (management: legal).

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