Sanofi shares move lower after securing Ablynx deal ahead of Novo Nordisk

01 February, 2018, 01:08 | Author: Elena Meyer
  • Sanofi to buy Ablynx for €3.9bn, leaving Novo Nordisk in the cold

By buying the company outright it will now get access to Ablynx's most promising asset, the experimental drug caplacizumab for treating the rare bleeding disorder acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura.

Sanofi chief executive Olivier Brandicourt said the decision to acquire Ablynx came after a successful existing partnership with the Belgian company, adding that the deal will help the group to "continue to advance the transformation of our R&D pipeline and strengthening our platform for growth in rare blood disorders".

Ablynx had already been approached by the Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk, who proposed early January 2.6 billion euros to buy the company.

Jefferies says that caplacizumab could be approved in Europe in the third quarter of this year, with a United States filing shortly after and an expected USA launch in the first half of 2019.

Among the eight, in addition to caplacizumab, is ALX-0171, a Phase IIb inhaled anti-RSV Nanobody that the companies say represents a potential breakthrough for the symptomatic treatment of RSV infections-for which there is no widely used therapy available.

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The acquisition, which has been valued at Euro 3.9 billion (GBP 3.43 billion), will provide Sanofi with access to a broader portfolio of technologies addressing multiple disease targets with single multi-specific molecules. ALX-0171 would be "very" complementary to Sanofi Pasteur RSV associated programs, according to the buyer.

Overall, Ablynx's Nanobody pipeline features over 45 proprietary and partnered candidates for a range of therapeutic areas that include hematology, inflammation, immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases. The results of our work are validated by clinical data. While Ablynx' CEO Edwin Moses announced after the rejection of Novo's bid, Ablynx intends to follow its plan to become a fully integrated biopharmaceutical enterprise, he now changed his mind saying: "As we look ahead, we believe Sanofi's global infrastructure, commitment to innovation and commercial capabilities will accelerate our ability to deliver our pipeline". We are also pleased to reaffirm our commitment to Belgium, where we have invested significantly over the years in our state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing facility in Geel.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter.

Following the Bioverativ deal, InvestorPlace contributor Dana Blankenhorn last week wrote that the bid " could be just the start of a shopping bonanza as big pharma companies seek to grow their drug pipelines through acquisitions of smaller biotech companies".

Shares in Sanofi were little changed, with pricing considerations offset by relief that Sanofi was finally taking action to improve its drugs portfolio, following its past failure to land big deals.

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