UCB To Acquire Ra Pharmaceuticals for $2.1 Bn

UCB has agreed to acquire Ra Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on therapies for rare diseases, for a total transaction value of approximately $2.1 billion.

Under the agreement, Ra Pharma shareholders will receive $48 in cash for each Ra Pharma share at closing (approximately $2.5 billion), which represents a transaction value of approximately $2.1 billion, net of Ra Pharma cash on June 30, 2019 of approximately $315 million.

With the acquisition, UCB would gain from Ra Pharma, zilucoplan, a synthetic, macrocyclic peptide inhibitor of complement component 5 (C5) currently in Phase III development for treating generalized myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease. UCB says it will develop the drug and, if approved, launch zilucoplan worldwide. Zilucoplan is also being evaluated in other complement-mediated diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy. Ra Pharma is developing an extended-release formulation of zilucoplan as well as an oral small-molecule C5 inhibitor.

The drug would add to UCB’s pipeline, which includes rozanolixizumab, an FcRn (neonatal crystallizable fragment receptor) targeting antibody also in Phase III development for treating myasthenia gravis.

With the acquisition, UCB would also gain Ra Pharma’s a proprietary peptide chemistry platform (Extreme Diversity), based on messenger ribonucleic acid display, which enables production of synthetic macrocyclic peptides and which combines the diversity, specificity and high affinity of therapeutic antibodies with the pharmacological properties of small molecules, according to information from the company.  

With the acquisition, UCB will also further strengthen its presence in the US with Ra Pharma’s operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

The Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction, which remains subject to approval by Ra Pharma shareholders, antitrust clearance and other customary closing conditions. UCB and Ra Pharma expect to complete the transaction by the end of the first quarter in 2020. Following the close, UCB says it plans to maintain the Ra Pharma unit in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Source: UCB

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