Kelso Pharma takes European step with Velit deal

Tom Stratford: deal adds a powerful portfolio

Kelso Pharma, the Scotland-based medicines business, has taken the first step in its European expansion strategy by acquiring Italian specialty pharma company, Velit Biopharma.

With more than 100 partnership agreements in place with pharma companies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Velit has a portfolio of more than 50 pharma products.

It has a strong pipeline of additional medicines in development, with a number of products available to be commercialised in the UK through Kelso’s existing infrastructure.

Velit’s founder and president, Dr Nicola Travierso, is a well-known figure in the international pharma community and will join Kelso’s executive management team.

All other members of the Velit team will remain with the business, further building Kelso’s development, regulatory and business development capabilities. The transaction is conditional on receiving Italian regulatory clearance. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Dr Tom Stratford, chief executive of Kelso Pharma, said: “Kelso Pharma is founded on our vision to bring innovative, value added, specialty medicines to healthcare markets across Europe and our acquisition of Velit is a perfect fit with this ambition.

“Not only does it have great people, but Velit brings with it a powerful portfolio alongside a rich pipeline of niche and generic+ products which Kelso can bring through our existing platforms.

“We plan to build on the strong partnerships that Velit has already formed to create further international success as we build a truly pan-European specialty pharma business.”

Dr Travierso said: “In Kelso we have found a true kindred spirit with whom we can take Velit to the next level alongside our valued partners. I look forward with enthusiasm and confidence to this next chapter in the Velit story in combination with Kelso Pharma.”

Sam Gray, managing partner at Kelso’s principal shareholder and backer, Apposite Capital, said: “This transaction represents an exciting opportunity for Kelso to build its business through the addition of this rapidly growing company. 

“Velit’s products, existing and under development, will strengthen Kelso’s portfolio in its target markets while Kelso can provide additional support for Velit’s impressive list of partnerships.”

Kelso Pharma is focused on bringing innovative, value added, specialty medicines to the European healthcare markets, providing medicines that improve the lives of patients in a cost-effective and ethical manner.

The company, which launched in 2020, is growing through a blend of company and product acquisitions, partnerships and organic growth and the Velit transaction is an important stepping stone for Kelso Pharma’s ambition to expand into the rest of Europe.

The acquisition of Glasgow-based Stirling Anglian Pharmaceuticals in January 2022 provided a new UK platform and springboard for sales growth for the business.

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