Biotech M&A got another boost this morning as French drugmaker Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) said it will buy Belgian biotech firm ABLYNX N.V. (OTCMKTS:ABLYF) for about $4.8 billion, just a week after inking a deal to buy hemophilia specialist Bioverativ Inc. (NASDAQ:BIVV) for $11.6 billion. SNY stock was down 1.3% at 7:05 ET today in pre-market trading. after gaining 2.6% last week.
Ablynx rejected a 2.6 billion euro offer from Denmark’s Novo Nordisk A/S (ADR) (NYSE:NVO), according to The Wall Street Journal. The Danish firm does not intend to make a revised offer for Ablynx, which is developing a prized experimental drug for a rare blood disorder, the newspaper reported.
Following the Bioverativ deal, InvestorPlace contributor Dana Blankenhorn last week wrote that the bid ” could be just the start of a shopping bonanza as big pharma companies seek to grow their drug pipelines through acquisitions of smaller biotech companies.” “Even before the deal was announced, analysts were looking for other companies that might draw similar interest from larger drug companies. The first names to fall out were companies that have already drawn rumored interest, like Juno Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JUNO), Jounce Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:JNCE) and Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:SRNE).”
Earlier this month U.S.-based Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) agreed to pay $9 billion for cancer specialist Juno, leading industry observers to predict more M&A deal in the coming months. The M&A activity is being fueled by large drugmakers seeking new medicines being developed by smaller rivals to help invigorate sluggish growth.
ABLYNX specializes in the research of novel drugs based on nanobodies found in the immune systems of llamas and alpacas, for which it partners with several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
Sanofi will get access to Ablynx’s most promising asset, the experimental drug caplacizumab for treating the rare bleeding disorder acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, according to the Journal.
“As multiple cures appear for specific conditions, the buyers are going to gain some market power, and the prices paid for the producers of some of these miracle cures may appear, in retrospect, to have been exorbitant,” Blankenhorn noted last week.