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Sumitomo Invests in Piedmont Animal Health

By Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer

-- Shutterstock

Greensboro-based Piedmont Animal Health, a developer of health products for companion animals, has gained a strategic equity investment from the life science division of Sumitomo Corp., a Fortune 500 company based in Tokyo.

The companies declined to disclose the amount of the investment.

The two companies also agreed to expand an existing technology collaboration agreement to include Asia and other certain countries outside of Japan.

Roland Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Piedmont, described the stepped-up collaboration as a natural progression of the business relationship established between Piedmont and Sumitomo in recent years.

“Japanese companies have long been innovators in discovering many of the most important anti-parasiticide molecules used around the world,” Johnson said in a news release. “In our careers, our team members have had the fortunate opportunity to turn many of these molecules into top-selling medications such as heartworm disease preventatives for companion animals. We look forward to accessing future new molecules coming from Sumitomo’s Japanese partner relationships.”

Kazuhiko Ohno, assistant to the general manager of Sumitomo’s life science division, said Sumitomo has been seeking to establish a development and marketing capability in the United States to strengthen Sumitomo’s reputation “as the global trading partner of choice” for Japanese companies working in animal health technology.

“Piedmont has an excellent track record in developing and achieving clearance for both FDA- and EPA-regulated products and offers the opportunity for an experienced and efficient path to U.S. commercialization for our partner companies in Japan,” Ohno said.

As part of the collaboration, Sumitomo will represent Piedmont’s product development pipeline in Asia.

Sumitomo history stretches beyond 400 years

“Piedmont has several ground-breaking products in development that target key therapeutic areas in companion animal health,” said Yasunori Ishibashi, general manager of Sumitomo’s Animal Health Science Department. “Japanese companies are very interested in accessing products from the U.S., but they need help from a global organization that understands their specific needs. Sumitomo is a trusted name in Japan, with a very long history in pharmaceuticals going back to our original founder over 400 years ago.”

Piedmont is focused on inventing and developing innovative technologies to address veterinary healthcare needs.  Its founders have developed, launched and/or marketed over 15 health products for dogs, cats, and horses, including four products developed and launched in the U.S. by Piedmont in the last four years.

The company is currently developing a broad range of convenient and long-acting medications for companion animals including pain relievers and anti-infectives.

Piedmont received a $150,000 start-up loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 2003 and has been growing ever since. The privately held company has 24 full-time employees and about 100 contract employees working on its behalf.

NCBiotech published an extensive profile of Piedmont and its sister company, Piedmont Pharmaceuticals, in August.

Sumitomo is a global trading and business investment company with 107 locations in 65 countries. The entire corporation consists of more than 800 companies and nearly 70,000 employees.

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