LONDON: French pharma giant Sanofi agreed to buy Synthorx Inc. for $2.5 billion, more than double the U.S. biotech company’s last market price, accelerating its push into the field of cancer under new Chief Executive Officer Paul Hudson.
Sanofi will pay $68 a share in cash for Synthorx, the companies said Monday. Shares of the unprofitable San Diego-based company closed at $25.03 Friday, having surged 40% last week.
The deal underscores the Paris-based drugmaker’s efforts to build its portfolio of innovative therapies in the fast-growing and lucrative cancer field. It was unveiled a day before Hudson outlines his pipeline and acquisition priorities, along with his plans for the consumer-health, diabetes and other units. The purchase marks Sanofi’s first multibillion acquisition since early 2018.
Investors are counting on Hudson to fire up Sanofi’s research operations and step up the search for novel products to reduce its reliance on Dupixent, a standout medicine for severe eczema and asthma. Hudson, the former pharma head at Novartis AG, is credited with launching key medicines at his previous job before becoming CEO of Sanofi in September.
Synthorx’s main asset, known as THOR-707, is being explored across multiple types of solid tumors, and together with immune checkpoint inhibitors and other future combinations, the companies said.
The French drugmaker earlier this year said it would accelerate 17 drug programs, almost half in cancer, and drop more than a dozen others under development. Analysts at HSBC wrote in August that more deals would be the fastest way to build up Sanofi’s stable of medicines and profile in cancer.
Sanofi shares have climbed about 11% since Hudson was named CEO in June, closing at 83.56 euros on Friday. The stock had declined almost 16% over the previous four years.
Morgan Stanley advised Sanofi, which used Weil, Gotshal & Manges as its law firm. Synthorx’s advisers were Centerview Partners LLC and Cooley LLP. - Bloomberg
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