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Hap­py alone Qi­a­gen changes course af­ter Ther­mo Fish­er of­fers to buy it in $11.5B deal

Dutch di­ag­nos­tics com­pa­ny Qi­a­gen — which is de­vel­op­ing tests for the on­go­ing coro­n­avirus epi­dem­ic — is be­ing ac­quired by US-based sci­en­tif­ic in­stru­ments mak­er Ther­mo Fish­er Sci­en­tif­ic in a deal val­ued at $11.5 bil­lion, in­clud­ing debt.

The an­nounce­ment comes months af­ter the Nether­lands-based com­pa­ny, which is list­ed on the NYSE, no­ti­fied in­vestors that it was re­view­ing po­ten­tial strate­gic al­ter­na­tives af­ter it re­ceived sev­er­al “in­di­ca­tions of in­ter­est” for an ac­qui­si­tion. But by De­cem­ber, it con­clud­ed it would pre­fer to go it alone.

The deal will boost Mass­a­chu­setts-based Ther­mo Fish­er’s spe­cial­ty di­ag­nos­tics plat­form that in­cludes al­ler­gy and au­toim­mu­ni­ty, trans­plant di­ag­nos­tics and clin­i­cal on­col­o­gy test­ing with mol­e­c­u­lar di­ag­nos­tics, par­tic­u­lar­ly for in­fec­tious dis­eases.

“The ac­qui­si­tion brings about strong sam­ples prep ca­pa­bil­i­ties to TMO in ad­di­tion to mol­e­c­u­lar di­ag­nos­tics and in­fec­tious dis­ease test­ing — in­clud­ing a lead­ing TB test­ing fran­chise,” SVB Leerink’s Puneet Sou­da wrote in a note, adding that the deal should fur­ther lever Ther­mo Fish­er to Covid-19.

The dead­ly coro­n­avirus epi­dem­ic has cul­mi­nat­ed in 3,000 deaths and cas­es have topped 90,000. Qi­a­gen — which pro­vid­ed equip­ment dur­ing the SARS and swine flu out­breaks — said it had shipped test kits for the nov­el coro­n­avirus to four hos­pi­tals in Chi­na for eval­u­a­tion days ago.

Ther­mo Fish­er makes and dis­trib­utes sci­en­tif­ic equip­ment, con­sum­ables, and ser­vices used by phar­ma & biotech, di­ag­nos­tics & health­care com­pa­nies, aca­d­e­m­ic & gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions, as well as in­dus­tri­al com­pa­nies. Its in­stru­ments and reagents are em­ployed in the CDC-ap­proved as­say pro­to­col for the de­tec­tion of Covid-19.

The com­pa­ny, which has com­plet­ed sev­en $1+ bil­lion deals in the past decade, is set to pay €39 a share for Qi­a­gen. That works out to a pre­mi­um of 23% to Qi­a­gen’s Mon­day clos­ing.

The $11.5 bil­lion deal al­so in­cludes the as­sump­tion of $1.4 bil­lion of net debt. The trans­ac­tion, ex­pect­ed to close in the first half of next year, has been ap­proved by both boards.

This large­ly spec­u­lat­ed Qi­a­gen ac­qui­si­tion should have a lim­it­ed im­pact on oth­er large-cap com­pa­nies in the life sci­ence tools mar­ket, Sou­da added.

For Qi­a­gen, the buy­out fol­lows its strate­gic shift last year that saw it cease de­vel­op­ing its own next-gen­er­a­tion genome-se­quenc­ing ma­chines to in­stead col­lab­o­rate with bell­wether Il­lu­mi­na, which led to the de­par­ture of its long-time CEO.

Qi­a­gen, which gen­er­at­ed 2019 rev­enue of more than $1.5 bil­lion, has built a suite of ge­nom­ic an­a­lyt­ic prod­ucts based on tech­nol­o­gy en­gi­neered to ex­tract, iso­late and pu­ri­fy DNA, RNA and pro­teins from a wide range of bi­o­log­i­cal sam­ples.

Ther­mo Fish­er’s shares $TMO lift­ed 1.6% in pre­mar­ket trad­ing to $309.89, while Qi­a­gen’s stock $QGEN jumped more than 16% to $42.03.

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

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Abortion-rights protesters regroup and protest following Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Fol­low­ing SCO­TUS de­ci­sion to over­turn abor­tion pro­tec­tions, AG Gar­land says states can't ban the abor­tion pill

Following the Supreme Court’s historic decision on Friday to overturn Americans’ constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years, Attorney General Merrick Garland sought to somewhat reassure women that states will not be able to ban the prescription drug sometimes used for abortions.

Following the decision, the New England Journal of Medicine also published an editorial strongly condemning the reversal, saying it “serves American families poorly, putting their health, safety, finances, and futures at risk.”

AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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invoX Pharma CEO Ben Toogood (L) and F-star CEO Eliot Forster

F-star bought out in $161M all-cash deal as Hong Kong's Sino Bio­pharm looks to­ward in­ter­na­tion­al ex­pan­sion

After more than a decade and a half of charting its own course, F-star Therapeutics will now settle under a new umbrella company.

The UK biotech will be acquired by invoX Pharma, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Sino Biopharm, in a roughly $161 million all-cash deal, the companies announced Thursday morning. F-star’s buyout will value its shares $FSTX at $7.12 apiece, nearly an 80% premium above Wednesday’s closing price.

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GSK says its drug for chron­ic hep B could ‘lead to a func­tion­al cure’ — but will it be alone or in com­bi­na­tion?

GSK, newly branded and soon-to-be demerged, shared interim results from its Phase II trial on its chronic hepatitis B treatment, one that it says has the “potential to lead to a functional cure.”

At a presentation at the EASL International Liver Congress, GSK shared that in around 450 patients who received its hep B drug bepirovirsen for 24 weeks, just under 30% had hepatitis B surface antigen and viral DNA levels that were too low to detect.

De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.

Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma CEO

Am­ryt Phar­ma sub­mits a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion to the FDA over re­ject­ed skin dis­ease drug

The story of Amryt Pharma’s candidate for the genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, will soon enter another chapter.

After the Irish drugmaker’s candidate, dubbed Oleogel-S10 and marketed as Filsuvez, was handed a CRL earlier this year, the company announced in a press release that it plans to submit a formal dispute resolution request for the company’s NDA for Oleogel-S10.

Kelly Martin, Radius Health CEO

VC firms take os­teo­poro­sis drug­mak­er Ra­dius Health pri­vate for al­most $900M

After attacks from activist investors and disappointing returns on share prices, Radius Health has now agreed to new ownership, a direction resulting in leaving the Nasdaq.

Radius Health, a biotech out of Massachusetts with one approved product in its arsenal, announced Thursday morning that it agreed to be acquired by two VC firms: Gurnet Point Capital and Patient Square Capital. The deal, worth around $890 million, will include debt assumption and the payout of $1 CVR per share for investors. And on top of that, OrbiMed is providing debt financing.