Sanofi to Buy Ablynx for nearly €4 billion
Sanofi is to acquire Belgium biopharma Ablynx in a deal valued at around €3.9 billion. The announcement comes just days after the French drugmaker announced its intention to buy US-based Bioverativ for $11.6 billion, its largest acquisition for seven years.
Rival Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk made an unsolicited bid of €2.6 billion for Ablynx in early January but has now said that it would drop its interest in the light of Sanofi’s higher offer.
Speaking to UK newspaper Financial Times, Alistair Campbell, an analyst at Berenberg, said: “The Ablynx acquisition makes strategic sense and fits nicely into Sanofi's portfolio. However, from a valuation point of view, Sanofi has paid a lot for Ablynx. Their hand was forced a bit by Novo's earlier bid for it.”
Ablynx is focused on the discovery and development of Nanobodies, a novel class of proprietary next-generation biologicals. The company has a pipeline of more than 45 proprietary and partnered candidates for a wide range of therapeutic areas such as hematology, inflammation, immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases. Last July, Sanofi gained access to certain of Ablynx’ Nanobodies through a research and licensing deal.
Eight Nanobodies have entered clinical development and Ablynx’s most advanced product, caplacizumab, is already filed in the European Union and is expected to be filed in the US during the first half of this year, potentially offering a first-in-class treatment for acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP).
Sanfoi noted that Ablynx’s ALX-0171, an inhaled anti-respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Nanobody, was very complementary to Sanofi Pasteur’s RSV associated programs.
The deal, which has been unanimously approved by both companies’ boards of directors, is set to conclude by the end of June, subject to the usual closing conditions.
“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,” said Sanofi’s CEO, Olivier Brandicourt, who added that the company intended to maintain and support the Ablynx science center in Ghent, Belgium.