Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Raphael Lafargue/Abaca/Sipa USA; Sipa via AP Images)

In­side look: How a po­ten­tial part­ner­ship turned in­to a $1.9B buy­out for Sanofi

A cou­ple of months be­fore the FDA was set to make a de­ci­sion on Kad­mon’s so-called “knock-your-socks-off kind of re­sults” for its chron­ic graft-ver­sus-host dis­ease drug, Sanofi put out feel­ers for a po­ten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tion. But an ear­ly ap­proval trig­gered an of­fer to buy the com­pa­ny out­right — and Sanofi didn’t win with­out a fight, ac­cord­ing to an in­side look.

Sanofi’s head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and li­cens­ing Matthieu Mer­lin reached out to Kad­mon on June 26 with a sim­ple re­quest: He want­ed to in­tro­duce him­self and ex­plore po­ten­tial part­ner­ships, ac­cord­ing to an SEC fil­ing. It had been sev­er­al months since Kad­mon’s belu­mo­sudil ar­rived on the FDA’s doorstep, and af­ter de­lay­ing their de­ci­sion once, reg­u­la­tors said they’d have an an­swer by Aug. 30. But Sanofi wasn’t the on­ly com­pa­ny in­ter­est­ed in get­ting to know the ex­ecs over at Kad­mon.

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