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Japan’s Otsuka to buy drugmaker Avanir for $3.5 bn

Drugmaker Shire urges AbbVie to proceed with $54bn takeover/AFP

Japan’s Otsuka to buy drugmaker Avanir for $3.5 bn/AFP

TOKYO, December 2- Japanese drug maker Otsuka Pharmaceutical said Tuesday it has agreed to buy US drugmaker Avanir Pharmaceuticals for $3.54 billion.

The acquisition is a push by Otsuka to accelerate its expansion in treating diseases that affect the central nervous system, the Japanese firm said.

“As we bring together Otsuka’s experience and business track record in the area of mental illnesses with Avanir’s strengths in neurologic diseases, we believe that we can evolve into a truly global CNS (central nervous system) pharmaceutical company,” Otsuka Pharmaceutical president Taro Iwamoto said in a statement.

The companies expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2015 with Avanir becoming an independent unit of Otsuka’s US operations.

The Japanese pharmaceutical company is relatively small compared with some of its European rivals, but it has launched an aggressive expansion strategy in recent years with a slew of acquisitions to expand its drug portfolio and commercial capabilities.

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