M&A News: Novo Nordisk, Novartis, Sanofi & More

A roundup of mergers & acquisitions from Novo Nordisk, Novartis, Sanofi, Gilead Sciences, AbbVie, Merck KGaA, AstraZeneca, and Takeda.

Novo Nordisk Completes $3.3-Bn Acquisition of Dicerna
Last month (December 28, 2021), Novo Nordisk completed its $3.3-billion acquisition of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a Lexington, Massachusetts-based bio/pharmaceutical company specializing in ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) therapeutics.

The acquisition was first announced in November 2021. At the completion of the merger, Dicerna became a wholly owned subsidiary of Novo Nordisk.

Source: Novo Nordisk and Dicerna Pharmaceuticals 

Novartis To Acquire Gyroscope in $1.5-Bn Deal
Last month (December 22, 2021), Novartis agreed to acquire Gyroscope Therapeutics, a London-based ocular gene-therapy company Gyroscope in a $1.5-billion deal ($800 million upfront and up to $700 million in milestone payments).

Through the acquisition, Novartis will add GT005, an investigational, one-time gene therapy currently in Phase II for treating geographic atrophy, an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration. Gyroscope also has several additional assets in its pipeline in early discovery for retinal diseases.

Novartis will make an upfront payment of $800 million and potential additional milestone payments of up to $700 million. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Until closing, Novartis and Gyroscope Therapeutics will continue to operate as separate and independent companies.

Source: Novartis

Sanofi To Acquire Amunix in $1.25-Bn Deal
Last month (December 21, 2021), Sanofi agreed to acquire Amunix Pharmaceuticals, an immuno-oncology company, in a deal worth up to $1.25 billion ($1 billion upfront and up to $225 million in milestones).

Amunix is developing masked T cell engagers (TCE) and cytokines, which are designed to preferentially activate in the tumor microenvironment and to overcome toxicity challenges that have hindered other T cell and cytokine therapies. Amunix’s proprietary masking technology has been clinically validated to extend drug half-life with limited immunogenicity. The company’s initial product candidate is AMX-818, a T cell engager targeting a variety of HER2-expressing solid tumors.

Under the agreement, Sanofi will acquire Amunix for an upfront payment of approximately $1 billion and up to $225 million upon achievement of certain future development milestones. Sanofi expects to complete the acquisition in the first quarter of 2022.

Source: Sanofi

Gilead Acquires Three Clinical Programs for $725-M
Last month (December 21, 2021), Gilead Sciences completed its acquisition of three clinical-stage programs from Arcus Biosciences, a Hayward, California bio/pharmaceutical company focused on cancer immunotherapies, for $725 million.

The companies first announced this acquisition and a research collaboration in November 2021. The clinical-stage programs include: domvanalimab and AB308 (an anti-TIGIT program):  etrumadenant (A2a/A2b adenosine receptor antagonist); and quemliclustat (small-molecule CD73 inhibitor).

The closing triggered option payments totaling $725 million from Gilead to Arcus, expected to be paid early in the first quarter of 2022. The parties will co-develop and share the global costs related to these clinical programs. If the optioned molecules achieve regulatory approval, Gilead and Arcus will co-commercialize and equally share profits in the US. Outside of the US, Gilead holds exclusive commercialization rights, subject to any rights of Arcus’s existing collaboration partners, and Gilead would pay Arcus tiered royalties on net sales of each optioned product.

Source: Arcus Biosciences

Allergan Aesthetics Completes $550-M Acquisition of Soliton
Last month (December 16, 2021), Allergan Aesthetics, an AbbVie company, has acquired Soliton, a Houston, Texas-based medical-device company, for $550 million. The acquisition includes Resonic, Soliton’s rapid-acoustic pulse device used for treating the addition of cellulite. The addition of Soliton and its technology adds to Allergan Aesthetics’ portfolio of non-invasive body contouring treatments.

Source: AbbVie

Merck KGaA Acquires Chord Therapeutics
Last month (December 20, 2021), Merck KGaA acquired Chord Therapeutics, a Geneva, Switzerland-based bio/pharma company focused on rare neuroinflammatory diseases.

Chord Therapeutics’ lead candidate is cladribine for treating generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Cladribine is a molecule that has been studied for treating multiple sclerosis and oncologic disorders and the company is evaluating it in exploratory studies in gMG and NMOSD. Merck KGaA plans to develop an oral cladribine product.

The transaction is expected to be closed in early 2022 after satisfactory completion of customary closing conditions.

Source: Merck KGaA

AstraZeneca Divests Rights to Two Respiratory Drugs
Earlier this month (January 5, 2021), AstraZeneca completed the transfer of its global rights to two respiratory products, Eklira (aclidinium bromide) and Duaklir (aclidinium bromide/formoterol) to Covis Pharma, a Zug, Switzerland-based specialty pharmaceutical company.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca received a payment of $270 million from Covis Pharma. AstraZeneca will also receive payments in respect of certain ongoing development costs related to the medicines.

Source: AstraZeneca

Takeda To Acquire Adaptate Biotherapeutics
This week (January 10, 2022), Takeda exercised its option to acquire Adaptate Biotherapeutics, a London-based company focused on developing antibody-based therapeutics for the modulation of variable delta 1 (Vδ1) gamma delta (γδ) T cells.

Through the acquisition, Takeda will obtain Adaptate’s antibody-based γδ T cell engager platform, including preclinical candidate and discovery pipeline programs. Adaptate’s γδ T cell engagers are designed to specifically modulate γδ T cell-mediated immune responses at tumor sites while sparing damage to healthy cells.

Adaptate was formed in 2019 as a spinout company from GammaDelta Therapeutics, a company focused on the properties of gamma delta (γδ) T cells for immunotherapy, with investment from Abingworth LLP and Takeda. In that investment, Takeda received an exclusive right to purchase Adaptate for a pre-negotiated upfront payment.

The planned acquisition of Adaptate follows Takeda’s recently exercised option to acquire GammaDelta Therapeutics, which it announced in November 2021. The acquisitions of Adaptate and GammaDelta are expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2022.

Source: Takeda and Adaptate Biotherapeutics