Sanofi to acquire Ablynx for €3.9bn

Jeannie Matthews
January 29, 2018

Sanofi beat out Novo Nordisk to buy Belgian biotech Ablynx for €3.9bn (£3.4bn).

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

In Belgium, Ablynx shares were trading at 44.52 euros, up 19.94 percent.

Novo Nordisk's latest offer, made December 22, 2017, was a 2.6 billion-euro ($3.2 billion) bid consisting of EUR28.00 upfront and EUR2.50 in Contingent Value Rights.

Monday's deal announcement is the second acquisition for Sanofi in a week.

Last week, Sanofi agreed to buy U.S. haemophilia specialist Bioverativ for $11.6bn (£8.2bn), and US-based Calgene also recently said it would buy cancer specialist Juno Therapeutics for $9bn.

The price offered by Sanofi represents a premium of 21.2% compared to Ablynx's closing price on Friday night.

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Ablynx had worked hard for a bigger deal.

Sanofi's Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt said, "With Ablynx, we continue to advance the strategic transformation of our Research and Development, expanding our late-stage pipeline and strengthening our platform for growth in rare blood disorders".

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by both board of directors, will represent an aggregate equity value of about €3.9 billion - €45 in cash per Ablynx share.

Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx, said that since its founding in 2001 Ablynx has "focused on unlocking the power" of its nanobody technology for patients.

By adding Ablynx and Biovertiv to its business, Sanofi has strengthened its rare blood disorder platform and is also providing more investment into the area.

Further, Ablynx's ALX-0171, an inhaled anti-RSV Nanobody, now in Phase 2b, is a potential breakthrough for the symptomatic treatment of RSV infections-for which there is no widely used therapy available-and is very complementary to Sanofi Pasteur RSV associated programs.

The deal gives Sanofi Ablynx's lead drug caplacizumab, which has shown considerable promise in treating the ultra-rare blood clotting disorder acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP).

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