Bioverativ could be looked on as an example of living in today’s accelerated pace of news and trends: The company was spun out of Biogen less than a year ago, acquired another company True North Therapeutics (for $400 million plus future considerations) in July, and now is being swallowed by Sanofi for $11.6 billion, representing a 64% premium on its stock price. Whew!
The acquisition is notable for the specialized market that Bioverativ represents: its two commercial products are aimed at hemophilia sufferers. Sanofi cites data indicating that hemophilia affects 181,000 people worldwide and is valued as a $10-billion market, growing 7% annually. Through three quarters of its first year it generated $840 million in revenue.
Sanofi says that the acquisition will “enhances its presence in specialty care and leadership in rare diseases, in line with its 2020 Roadmap, and creates a platform for growth in other rare blood disorders.” Investigational drugs for sickle cell anemia and beta thalassemia, and a Phase III drug acquired with True North Therapeutics for another rare blood disorder, cold agglutinin disease. Sanofi also expects Bioverativ’s expertise will help with a cell therapy it is developing for fitusiran, a treatment for hemophilia.
All this points to the continuing direction of the pharma industry toward specialty and rare-disease drugs, notably ones based on biotechnology. With repatriated foreign earnings coming to US companies via the tax reforms, low interest rates and generally health balance sheets among major pharma companies, the industry could be heading for an active M&A season.