OPKO Health to buy 45% of Israeli hepatitis B vaccine producer

US drug maker OPKO Health Inc (NYSE:OPK) said it has agreed a deal to acquire 45% of an unnamed privately-held Israeli firm, which manufactures a third-generation hepatitis B vaccine, for an undisclosed sum.

OPKO said it had purchased the interest from FDS Pharma LLP, a producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients for Russia. FDS, in turn, took over the company in the first quarter of the year from Singapore-based biotech company SciGen Limited (ASX:SIE).

The Israeli firm produces the Sci-B-Vac vaccine in its facility located in Rehovot. Sci-B-Vac is a recombinant mammalian cell produced next generation vaccine, which has demonstrated increased antibody response in a population of documented non and low-responders. Furthermore, the vaccine induces rapid seroprotection and can be applied for immunotherapy of chronic hepatitis B. It is currently distributed in Israel, but has got authorisation in other countries as well.

OPKO Health, which develops a range of solutions for diagnostics, treatment and prevention of various conditions, is based in Miami, Florida. In April, the company bought Chilean pharmaceutical products distributor ALS Distribuidora Limitada, while in December last year, it took over FineTech Pharmaceuticals Ltd. OPKO carried out other acquisitions as well and divested of its ophthalmic instrumentation business in October 2011.