Sanofi's hurried, $2.5B pursuit for Synthorx drove buyout price high and left keen rival sorely disappointed
Sanofi was locked in a bidding war right up to the final moments of closing its $2.5 billion buyout of Synthorx, as it rushed to complete a deal — this or another — to bolster CEO Paul Hudson’s new R&D vision before wrapping the year. By Synthorx’s account, what began as routine partnership talks took a sharp turn into two weeks of intense negotiations in which the San Diego biotech was able to almost double the offer.
By moving swiftly and aggressively, Sanofi fended off three other suitors to pocket a slate of next-gen IL-2 drugs for cancer and autoimmune diseases as well as a synthetic biology platform. The pharma giant now takes over a pipeline whose most advanced asset it still in Phase I/II — befitting an organization that now vows to “get in early enough to change a treatment paradigm.”
The initial meetings with Synthorx took place at all the usual places: ESMO 2018, JP Morgan and AACR 2019. Soon Sanofi R&D chief John Reed stepped in, but the smaller player continued to explore options with other companies at ASCO and BIO over the summer.
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