Published: Mon, January 29, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Novo Nordisk Is Planning to Raise Bid for Belgian Ablynx

Novo Nordisk Is Planning to Raise Bid for Belgian Ablynx

That's in addition to the hemophilia treatments Sanofi is going to bag in the $11.6 billion acquisition of Bioverativ, announced just last week. The Belgian biotech company is now developing an experimental blood disorder drug called caplacizumab, used to treat bleeding disorder.

X Paris-based Sanofi will pay 45 euros a share in cash for all outstanding shares of Ablynx, it said in a statement Monday.

The Danish drugmaker, which has been spurned twice in less than a month after offering as much as 30.50 euros apiece, is preparing a new bid that could be presented to the target as early as early as next week, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are confidential.

Such deals are being driven by the need of large drugmakers to tap the promising new medicines being developed by smaller rivals to help revive flagging growth.

"We have a strong balance sheet".

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Sanofi said Ablynx would boost long-term value for its shareholders, while the takeover was expected to have a neutral impact on Sanofi's business earnings per share (EPS) in 2018 and 2019.

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.

Ablynx and its advisers have reached out to other potential suitors including France's Sanofi, Merck & Co. of the US and Switzerland's Roche Holding AG to gauge interest, the people said.

Ablynx's most-advanced product in development is caplacizumab (anti-vWF Nanobody), a wholly-owned development program for the treatment of acquired thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (aTTP).

Sanofi said the acquisition builds on an existing partnership and that the company intends to maintain and support the Ablynx science center in Ghent, Belgium.

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Sanofi shares were flat at EUR73.48 on Monday in early trading.

So far the Danish company has failed to successfully execute a big deal.

This latest purchase of Ablynx is seen as a good strategic fit for Sanofi, particularly in the wake of its Biovertiv acquisition.

Shares in Sanofi were little changed, with pricing considerations offset by relief that Sanofi was finally taking action to improve its drugs portfolio, following its past failure to land big deals.

The French company has been under pressure from investors to complete a large acquisition after it lost out to Pfizer a bidding war for cancer-drug maker Medivation in 2016 and talks with Swiss biotech Actelion collapsed past year after the two firms failed to hash out an agreement.

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Morgan Stanley and Lazard acted as Sanofi's financial advisers while Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and NautaDutilh served as legal counsels.

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