Strategy

Shire to Buy Rival Drug Maker Dyax for $5.9B

The deal gives the acquisitive Irish company access to an experimental drug that competes with its own treatment for a rare disease.
Matthew HellerNovember 2, 2015

Shire Plc said Monday it has agreed to acquire biotech company Dyax for at least $5.9 billion, continuing an acquisition spree aimed at diversifying the Irish drug maker away from its historically dominant hyperactivity business.

Shire’s $37.30 offer for each Dyax share is a 35% premium over the stock’s Friday closing price. Dyax investors will get an additional $4 a share, or $646 million, if its DX-2930 experimental drug for hereditary angioedema (HAE), a rare and potentially life-threatening disease that causes swelling, receives regulatory approval by the end of 2019.

According to Bloomberg, the deal “allows Shire to take over a drug that posed a serious threat to Cinryze, its fastest growing medicine, which prevents HAE attacks.” DX-2930 will generate annual sales of as much as $2 billion globally and have patent protection and other exclusivity pacts beyond 2030, the companies said.

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“DX-2930 is a strategic fit within our HAE domain expertise, and we are well-positioned to advance the development, registration, and commercialization of DX-2930 for the benefit of HAE patients,” Shire Chief Executive Flemming Ørnskov said.

Dyax share’s were up more than 28%, at $35.37, in trading Monday.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Ørnskov has presided over a string of small-to-midsize acquisitions since becoming CEO two-and-a-half years ago. In Shire’s largest deal to date, it acquired in January to acquire NPS Pharmaceuticals, a maker of treatments for rare diseases, for $5.2 billion.

Shire has also been locked in a three-month battle to acquire rare-disease rival Baxalta, which rejected a $30 billion offer. “Even with [the Dyax] transaction, we will continue to have the financial firepower to pursue other value-added strategic acquisitions, including Baxalta,” Ørnskov said.

Shire’s existing HAE treatments Firazyr and Cinryze are two of its fast-growing products, with combined sales approaching $1 billion. According to The Journal, DX-2930 was “one of the biggest competitive threats to Shire’s hereditary angioedema franchise, because it is significantly more convenient to take than Shire’s Cinryze.”

DX-2930 is taken once every two weeks by simple injection, whereas Cinryze is taken twice a week intravenously.

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