Sanofi wins big in battle for nano-drug maker

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France's Sanofi announced Monday that it had reached a deal to acquire Belgian biotech firm Ablynx that values the firm at 3.9 billion euros ($4.8 billion), beating out Danish rival Novo Nordisk for the nano-drug maker.

Novo Nordisk earlier this month made a 2.6-billion-euro offer to buy the firm that is developing nano-drugs to treat blood disorders, which Ablynx rejected as too little.

Chief executive Olivier Brandicourt said by acquiring Ablynx that Sanofi will be expanding its portfolio of drugs that are close to market and "strengthening our platform for growth in rare blood disorders."

Ablynx specialises in the development of nanobodies: small fragments of antibodies that like larger antibodies can bind onto the antigens that cause an immune system response.

One of its nanobodies furthest along in development, caplacizumab, aims to treat a certain type of blood clot.

Ablynx's chief executive Edwin Moses said "we believe Sanofi's global infrastructure, commitment to innovation and commercial capabilities will accelerate our ability to deliver our pipeline" of products under development to the market.

Sanofi said that while it expected the addition of Ablynx would increase the long-term value of the company to shareholders by adding to its pipeline of drugs under development, research expenses would mean no increased earnings per share this year or in 2019.

The purchase of Ablynx is the second major acquisition by Sanofi this month, after announcing last week it would buy US biotech company Bioverativ, which specialises in treatments for haemophilia and rare blood disorders, for $11.6 billion (9.4 billion euros).

Sanofi's shares dipped 0.2 percent in a Paris market up slightly overall.


© 2018 AFP

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