In­sid­er ac­count of UCB’s $2.1B deal to buy Ra Phar­ma spot­lights a dis­ci­plined M&A strat­e­gy — and $120M wind­fall for ex­ecs

When the Ra Phar­ma team hit San Fran­cis­co for JP Mor­gan last Jan­u­ary, they were on a mis­sion: Find a deal for their C5 in­hibitor zilu­coplan at the thresh­old of late-stage de­vel­op­ment for myas­the­nia gravis. And by the time they were done ne­go­ti­at­ing near­er the end of the year, the top team could count on a re­ward of $120 mil­lion at the be­gin­ning of 2020.

And they had every rea­son to be­lieve they could get a good num­ber for their as­set. The stock $RARX, which had hit rock bot­tom in the spring of 2018 at just a lit­tle over $5 a share, was re­bound­ing and new­ly pro­duced Phase II da­ta for the lead drug on De­cem­ber 10, 2018, set up a piv­otal shot at ri­val­ing Alex­ion’s cash cow Soliris.

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