Sanofi to Buy Hemophilia Specialist Bioverativ

24.01.2018 -

Sanofi is boosting its presence in blood disorders through the acquisition of Bioverativ, the former hemophilia business of major US biotech Biogen, which was spun out in February 2017.

The French drugmaker is paying $11.6 billion for the Massachusetts-based company, a price that several analysts said looked expensive as limited growth was expected for Bioverativ in the mid-term. US investment bank Jefferies noted that while the deal looked relatively expensive, it was “logical in terms of building around Sanofi’s presence and pipeline in rare diseases and hemophilia, though management may have to argue against concerns on competition.”

Sanofi said hemophilia drugs are worth around $10 billion in annual sales, and 181,000 people around the world are affected by the disorder that makes it difficult for blood to clot. The market is expected to grow by more than 7% annually through 2022.

Bioverativ has two blood therapies, Eloctate and Alprolix, for treating hemophilia A and B respectively, generating sales of $847 million and royalties of $41 million in 2016. The two drugs are currently marketed in the US, Canada, Japan and Australia and plans exist to expand into other territories. The therapies are also commercialized in the EU and other countries under a collaboration agreement.

Along with Eloctate and Alprolix, Bioverativ’s pipeline includes a program in Phase 3 testing for cold agglutinin disease as well as early stage research programs and collaborations in hemophilia, and other rare blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia.

The deal also allows Sanofi to leverage Bioverativ’s clinical expertise and existing commercial platform to advance fitusiran, an investigational RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutic for hemophilia A and B, with or without inhibitors, to which it recently obtained development and commercialization rights.

“With Bioverativ, a leader in the growing hemophilia market, Sanofi enhances its presence in specialty care and leadership in rare diseases, in line with its 2020 Roadmap, and creates a platform for growth in other rare blood disorders,” said Olivier Brandicourt, Sanofi’s CEO.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the next three months, should be immediately accretive to Sanofi’s earnings per share in fiscal 2018 and up to 5% accretive in fiscal 2019.

The deal is Sanofi’s biggest in seven years, after it bought US biotech Genzyme in 2011 for about $20 billion. It has failed twice to conclude a deal in recent years. In 2016, it lost out on buying California cancer specialist Medivation, which went to Pfizer, and last year missed Swiss biotech Actelion, which ended up with Johnson & Johnson.

Bloomberg news agency said more transactions could be on the way for Sanofi as sales of its best-selling drug Lantus insulin come under pressure from cheaper, alternative treatments. Sanofi could be a suitor for Pfizer’s or Merck KGaA’s consumer-health divisions, Sebastien Malafosse, an analyst at Franco-German financial group Oddo-BHF told Bloomberg.