Japan's Fujifilm To Buy US Vaccine Maker Amid Ebola Outbreak

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Japan's Fujifilm Corp. is going to take a 49 percent stake of Kalon Biotherapeutics, manufacturer of vaccines and plans to to buy the whole company.

MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) — Japan's Fujifilm Corp. has announced it would buy 49 percent of the American company Kalon Biotherapeutics, a Texas-based manufacturer of vaccines against deadly pathogens including pandemic influenza and Ebola.

"The deal would see Fujifilm take a 49 percent stake in Kalon Biotherapeutics, with plans to buy the whole company ‘in the future’, the company said, without supplying financial details. Japan's leading Nikkei business daily said the acquisition would be worth several billion yen (tens of millions of dollars)," Agence France-Presse reported.

Kalon Biotherapeutics is a private company which was established in 2011 by Texas A&M University as a contract manufacturer of vaccines against various deadly pathogens. 

Fujifilm is considered one of the biggest makers of film for use in traditional photography. However, since the company's "traditional business suffers" due to the near-universal use of digital photography, the corporation is seeking new ways to increase its profits. In 2008 Fujifilm bought Toyama Chemical Co., while expanding its new pharma business. It looks like the company has its eyes on the pharmaceutical sector, especially in the light of the latest Ebola outbreak.

Remarkably, "Fujifilm's stock finished 2.89% higher in Tokyo on the news [that the company is buying the US vaccine maker], while the benchmark Nikkei 225 share average closed 0.63% higher," International Business Times points out.

It is worth mentioning that Fujifilm has already "gained the global spotlight" after it used its anti-influenza drug Avigan, made by its subsidiary Toyama Chemical Co., to treat Ebola patients, the Japan Times emphasizes. According to the corporation, it possesses enough Avigan tablets to medicate up to 20,000 people infected with Ebola. "The acquisition of Kalon, which makes vaccines on a contract basis, will help Fujifilm enter the growing market," the media outlet underscores.

Meanwhile, the number of people infected with the deadly virus is growing steadily. The World Health Organization has said the Ebola death toll has risen to 4,922 people, while the number of Ebola-positive patients exceeds 10,000. The latest Ebola outbreak is considered to be the worst in history.

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