Sanofi announces $3.7bn deal to acquire US-based Principa Biopharma

17 Aug 2020

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French pharma giant Sanofi has agreed to purchase Principa Biopharma in a deal that will be worth $3.7bn.

Sanofi is eyeing up the expansion of its autoimmune disease drug line after announcing plans to acquire Principa Biopharma, which is headquartered in San Francisco. The deal, worth approximately $3.7bn, will see Sanofi acquire all of Principa’s shares at $100 each and is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year.

In its announcement, Sanofi said that getting access to Principa’s Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors will be among the key benefits of the acquisition. BTK is present in the signalling pathways of key innate and adaptive cell types of the immune system and being able to block or disrupt these processes could help stop inflammation and tissue destruction related to autoimmune diseases.

Speaking of the deal, Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said: “This acquisition advances our ongoing R&D transformation to accelerate development of the most promising medicines that will address significant patient needs.

“The addition of multiple BTK inhibitors to our pipeline demonstrates our commitment to strategic product acquisitions in our priority therapeutic areas.”

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Principa’s CEO and president, Martin Babler, added: “By combining with Sanofi, we will bring significant resources to expand and accelerate the potential benefits of [immune-mediated disease] therapies.

“The benefit of developing several BTK inhibitors will allow us to target specific organ systems for optimal patient benefit. The merger will provide global resources to get these novel therapies to patients faster.”

Last year Sanofi purchased biotech firm Synthorx in a deal estimated to be worth $2.5bn, while in 2018 it announced the takeover of Bioverativ for $11.6bn. Bioverativ spun out from Biogen in 2016 with a focus on the research and delivery of therapies for haemophilia.

In July Sanofi and GSK said they were in advanced talks with the EU to supply up to 300m doses of a Covid-19 vaccine once it has been fully developed and passed all human tests. The doses would be manufactured in European countries including France, Belgium, Germany and Italy.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic