Novartis to Acquire US Cholesterol Drug Specialist
Swiss drugmaker Novartis announced on Nov. 24 that it plans to buy biopharmaceuticals producer The Medicines Company for $9.7 billion, confirming a Wall Street Journal report published a day earlier putting earlier putting the price at $7 billion.
The Medicines Company is a major US-headquartered producer of cholesterol drugs, and the New Jersey-based drugmaker’s leading product inclisiran is regarded a potentially transformational investigational cholesterol-lowering therapy that re-imagines the treatment of atherosclerotic heart disease and inherited familial hypercholesterolemia.
Based on a relatively new RNA interference technology with the ability to turn off genes that play a role in a disease, inclisiran had successful results in late-stage clinical trials, with the latest set of positive results announced last week.
Novartis’ offer of $85 per share as part of an all-cash deal for the drugmaker represents a premium of 24% over its closing price on Nov.22, but reports said the acquisition could potentially hand Novartis a market of 50 million patients worldwide.
In particular, analysts said, the acquisition would help Novartis, which has a market value of more than $200 billion, add strength in a corner of the healthcare market it is already targeting with drugs including its heart-failure treatment Entresto.
"With tens of millions of patients at higher risk of cardiovascular events from high LDL cholesterol, we believe that inclisiran could contribute significantly to improved patient outcomes and help healthcare systems address the leading global cause of death," said Novartis’ CEO Vas Narasimhan.
The CEO said the prospect of bringing inclisiran to patients also fits with Novartis’ overall strategy to transform itself into a focused medicines company and adds an investigational therapy with the potential to be a significant driver of its medium to long term growth.
The Swiss group is holding a conference call for investors today, Nov.25, at 7 a.m. Central European Time.