French healthcare group Sanofi has agreed to buy hemophilia drug maker Bioverativ for $11.6 billion in a move to strengthen its portfolio of treatments for rare diseases amid declining sales of its flagship insulin drug.
Sanofi has been building a presence in treating rare diseases since it paid more than $20 billion for Genzyme Corp. in 2011. The acquisition of Waltham, Mass.-based Bioverativ, a spinoff from biotech giant Biogen, is its largest since the Genzyme deal.
Bioverativ has two hemophilia drugs, Eloctate and Alprolix, on the market, competing in a sector, that according to Sanofi, is set to grow by more than 7% per year through to 2022. Sanofi said Monday it will pay $105 per share for the company, a a 64% premium over Friday’s closing price.
“With Bioverativ, a leader in the growing hemophilia market, Sanofi enhances its presence in specialty care and leadership in rare diseases … and creates a platform for growth in other rare blood disorders,” Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt said in a news release.
The French firm lost out on buying California-based cancer specialist Medivation to Pfizer in 2016, and also missed acquiring Swiss biotech company Actelion, which was bought by Johnson & Johnson last year.
As the Boston Globe reports, Sanofi has been looking for new products to offset sales declines for its best-selling insulin, Lantus, which is facing competition from generic rivals.
“Their own pipeline, like that of many of the larger pharmaceutical companies, was in need of new [drug] candidates,” said Ben Gomes-Casseres, a professor at the Brandeis International Business School. “They bought Genzyme, and that gave them a strong foothold in the Boston biotech ecosystem, and this is building out on that investment.”
Hemophilia drugs account for about $10 billion in annual sales, with Bioverativ generating $847 million in sales in 2016 and $41 million in royalties.
“Sanofi brings proven capabilities and a global infrastructure, which we believe will help to more rapidly expand access to our medicines globally and further our mission of transforming the lives of people with rare blood disorders,” Bioverativ CEO John Cox said.