Novartis announced today that it has entered into an agreement and plan of merger with The Medicines Company (NASDAQ: MDCO) to acquire the US-based biopharmaceutical company for United States dollars 85.00 per share in cash, valuing the company at approximately USD 9.7 billion on a fully diluted equity basis. "This could be a strong step forward in Novartis's transformation into a focused medicines company", Vas Narasimhan, the Novartis chief executive, said on Sunday in a tweet.
Recent data on the cholesterol treatment, a partnership with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., suggest that inclisiran may offer a differentiated option from similar older drugs from Amgen Inc.as well as partners Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi.
Novartis Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan was willing to foot the bill, which includes stock options and convertible debt, for a medicine that appears to be moving quickly to the USA market where it will compete against existing products from Amgen Inc, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Sanofi.More news: Manchester City owners in record valuation after USA investment
Repatha and Praluent are antibodies that bind to PCSK9, while inclisiran is an RNA interference (RNAi) drug that inhibits the production of PCSK9.
"Our company's singular, relentless focus and the unwavering commitment of our employees have led to this opportunity to unlock the intrinsic value of inclisiran (a drug meant to lower cholesterol) for patients and to maximize value for our shareholders", Mark Timney, CEO of The Medicines Co., said.
Takeover speculation around The Medicines Company had been prompted by successive clinical successes. Until that time, The Medicines Co. will continue to operate as a separate and independent company.More news: The last letter from Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to Trump
The planned acquisition will add a promising candidate to Novartis' cardiovascular portfolio, which includes Entresto.
The move will mark the latest in a line of acquisitions aimed at enhancing the Swiss company's stable of cutting-edge drugs to treat things like cancer.
Inclisiran may have a slight advantage in that it can be dosed twice a year during the maintenance phase, while Repatha and Praluent have to be dosed once or twice a month. Medicines Co plans to submit an application for the drug in the US before year-end. Givlaari, another one of Alnylam's RNA products that treats a rare liver disease, was approved last week and will carry an annual USA wholesale price of US$575,000. The success of the drug, which has shown few side effects in clinical trials, is good news for Alnylam, whose Onpattro treatment for a rare inherited protein abnormality was the first therapy approved in the field.More news: Cave Fire sparks evacuations for foothills above Goleta
A key part of the problem has been that Amgen and Sanofi have effectively been engaged in a price war to the bottom in a desperate bid to get their respective drugs onto U.S. formularies. The consensus price target is $69.77. Not so long ago, The Medicines Company was at a crossroads due to the loss of its key revenue driver.