TOKYO, April 30 (Reuters) - Japan's Ono Pharmaceutical Co said on Tuesday its $2.4 billion takeover of Deciphera Pharmaceuticals is a "first step" in expanding in U.S. and European markets.


With this deal, Ono Pharma joins Japanese rivals Takeda Pharmaceutical and Astellas Pharma which have spent big recently to replenish their drug pipelines.


"We've gotten to stage 1 and 2 on a global level, but in order to start recording sales at a quicker pace, we need to obtain a pipeline from outside. This acquisition is the first step in that direction," Ono Pharma CEO Gyo Sagara said at an online briefing.

"After this first M&A, this does not mean that we will do a second or third, but we will always keep an eye on acquiring good compounds from the outside and will make sure to go in if we have a chance," he added.


Ono Pharma is best known globally for its blockbuster cancer drug Opdivo, which is sold in the U.S. by partner Bristol-Myers Squibb. The drug expected to lose patent protection in major markets from 2028.

The purchase includes Deciphera's oral drug Qinlock to treat a type of gastrointestinal cancer, which received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's full approval in 2020.

Another major pipeline prospect is Vimseltinib, a treatment for a type of tumor found in some joints.


Ono Pharma offered $25.60 per share in cash, a premium of 74.7% to U.S.-based Deciphera's previous closing price.

Qinlock had global sales of $163 million in 2023. Ono Pharma expects Qinlock and Vimseltinib together will reach peak global sales of $1 billion.


Ono Pharma shares slid 1% on Tuesday, after the deal was announced on a Japanese holiday on Monday. Deciphera shares shot up 73%.

(Editing by Ros Russell)