HONG KONG – Tokyo-based Terumo Corp. has snapped up Dutch health care startup Quirem Medical BV, which develops selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) microspheres to treat liver cancer.

Quirem raked in a one-time, upfront payment of $20 million, alongside additional payments of up to $25 million to be paid upon reaching future milestones by 2030.

The acquisition, which closed on July 14, saw Tokyo-based Terumo acquire an 80.1% stake in Quirem, increasing the Japanese company’s previous 19.9% share. Terumo said that it made an initial investment in the Dutch company in 2015, becoming the exclusive global distributor of Quirem technology. With the completion of the acquisition, Quirem is now a wholly owned Terumo subsidiary.

Terumo’s stock opened at ¥4000 ($37.3415) on July 15, the day after the deal closed. The stocks closed at ¥4009 two days later, on July 17.

Terumo “expects a positive impact to our profit from a long-time perspective,” from its acquisition, Terumo communications manager Atsushi Hashimoto told BioWorld. But from a short-term perspective, “as Quirem is currently running a deficit, the acquisition will have a negative impact on Terumo's profit,” he added.

Nonetheless, Terumo said that it funded the acquisition via cash on hand and does not foresee any significant impacts on its financial projections for the current fiscal year, due to end on March 31, 2021. Hashimoto declined to provide further financial details but said that COVID-19 did not impact the deal’s timing.

Despite Deventer-based Quirem’s deficit, Terumo expects the acquisition to “drive our interventional oncology business for liver cancer, with the potential to expand it to cancers in other organs.” Quirem’s Holmium SIRT platform will complement Terumo’s existing products in the interventional oncology field, including its Progreat micro catheter system, HydroPearl compressible microspheres for embolization, LifePearl drug-eluting microspheres and BioPearl biodegradable drug eluting microspheres.

Quirem CEO Jan Sigger said that the acquisition by Terumo will “further drive the adoption of our unique product offerings worldwide and accelerate our pace of innovation, reaching more patients that will benefit from our technology.”

One of Quirem’s best-known products are Quiremspheres, its holmium-166 radioactive isotopes-emitting microspheres treating liver cancer. The microspheres can be viewed via single-photon emission computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) even at low concentrations, giving them an advantage over currently available Yttrium-90 based microspheres.

Other products in the Quirem portfolio include Quiremscout, which safely evaluates the distribution of intra-arterially injected microspheres prior to SIRT treatment and the Q-Suite software package. Q-Suite determines the 3D dose distribution after holmium-166 SIRT, allowing for easy and quick verification of both dose-to-tumor and dose-to-tissue after SIRT via Quiremspheres microspheres. The software also determines SIRT’s success immediately after the procedure by converting SPECT and MR imaging into absorbed dose distributions.

Quirem’s three products, together known as the Holmium SIRT Platform, personalize treatment for each patient, thus allowing for optimized SIRT outcomes. Q-Suite received Europe’s CE mark on June 8, with Quiremspheres and Quiremscout receiving their approvals in April 2015 and December 2018 respectively. The platform is currently available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Laurent Domas, Terumo Europe’s vice president for global interventional oncology strategy and therapy development, said that adding the Holmium SIRT platform to Terumo’s existing interventional oncology portfolio would help it build a broad platform of loco-regional treatment options for liver cancer and provide treatment solutions for other organs as well.

Besides Quirem, Terumo has invested in two U.S. venture firms, Santa Clara-based Strategic Healthcare Investment Partners and Boston-based Catalyst Health Ventures, in September 2019. The company also in invested Mountain View-based Emergent Medical Partners in 2013.

Terumo estimated the global interventional oncology market to be worth more than $1 billion, with the market growing rapidly at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7%. The company also expects SIRT treatments to be one of the main drivers of this growth year-on-year.

The company said it is open to further acquisitions.

“We are always considering various opportunities, aiming to realize both organic and inorganic growth based on our existing businesses, external technologies and future acquisitions,” said Hashimoto.

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