Se­qens ma­jor­i­ty own­er look­ing to sell API mak­er amid record-high run in health­care val­u­a­tions: re­port

Three years af­ter it re­brand­ed from No­va­cap, Se­qens, a French phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­er and in­gre­di­ent sup­pli­er is re­port­ed­ly be­ing prepped for sale.

The sale comes as Se­qens’ pri­vate eq­ui­ty own­ers — its ma­jor­i­ty own­er is Eu­razeo — are hop­ing to cash in on the cur­rent high val­u­a­tions in the health­care mar­ket, Reuters re­port­ed Mon­day, cit­ing two un­named sources close to the mat­ter.

Eu­razeo, a French in­vest­ment firm, has charged JP Mor­gan with find­ing a buy­er for the com­pa­ny, the re­port said, which could be val­ued at up­wards of $2.4 bil­lion (2 bil­lion eu­ros). Se­qens makes and dis­trib­utes as­pirin and parac­eta­mol, among oth­er API — which brought in earn­ings of around $180.9 mil­lion (150 mil­lion eu­ros) in the com­pa­ny’s most re­cent fis­cal year. That means its sale val­ue could be 15 times that of its core earn­ings.

The com­pa­ny is ex­pect­ed to be in play for peer com­pa­nies such as Re­ci­pharm, Lon­za, Cam­brex and Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics, Reuters said.

In re­cent years, Se­qens has grown its foot­print through ac­quir­ing com­pa­nies such as Ger­many-based Uetikon, Chi­na’s Yangzi Pharm Chem­i­cal and US-based PCI Syn­the­sis. Reuters re­port­ed that in 2016, when the com­pa­ny was still known as No­va­cap, Eu­razeo took on a 67% stake through a deal that val­ued the com­pa­ny at 654 mil­lion eu­ros, in­clud­ing debt, from pri­vate eq­ui­ty firm Ar­dian. Ar­dian re­tained an 18% stake in No­va­cap at the time.

Pierre Luzeau

Se­qens did not im­me­di­ate­ly re­spond Mon­day to a re­quest for com­ment from End­points News.

News of the po­ten­tial sale comes just six months af­ter Se­qens in­vest­ed $35 mil­lion (30 mil­lion Eu­ros) in a new high po­tent ac­tive phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­gre­di­ent unit at its Vil­leneuve-La-Garenne site in a high-pro­file cer­e­mo­ny at­tend­ed by France pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron.

That project, al­so known as UPP30, was car­ried out through a part­ner­ship with Mithra, a Bel­gian biotech com­pa­ny. In a press re­lease at the time, Se­qens out­lined a three-tiered process to “re­vi­tal­ize our in­dus­tri­al foot­print”: de­vel­op­ing tech­ni­cal skills through a fo­cus in hir­ing young work­ers, em­pha­siz­ing in­no­va­tion and R&D, and en­sur­ing the high qual­i­ty and per­for­mance of its prod­ucts.

“Our sus­tain­abil­i­ty will de­pend on the abil­i­ty of our com­pa­nies to in­no­vate and boost pro­duc­tive in­vest­ment in our ter­ri­to­ries,” Se­qens CEO Pierre Luzeau said in Au­gust.

So­cial: Se­qens web­site

Tar­get­ing a Po­ten­tial Vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of Cer­tain Can­cers with DNA Dam­age Re­sponse

Every individual’s DNA is unique, and because of this, every patient responds differently to disease and treatment. It is astonishing how four tiny building blocks of our DNA – A, T, C, G – dictate our health, disease, and how we age.

The tricky thing about DNA is that it is constantly exposed to damage by sources such as ultraviolet light, certain chemicals, toxins, and even natural biochemical processes inside our cells.¹ If ignored, DNA damage will accumulate in replicating cells, giving rise to mutations that can lead to premature aging, cancer, and other diseases.

Steve Cutler, Icon CEO (Icon)

In the biggest CRO takeover in years, Icon doles out $12B for PRA Health Sci­ences to fo­cus on de­cen­tral­ized clin­i­cal work

Contract research M&A had a healthy run in recent years before recently petering out. But with the market ripe for a big buyout and the Covid-19 pandemic emphasizing the importance of decentralized trials, Wednesday saw a tectonic shift in the CRO world.

Icon, the Dublin-based CRO, will acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion in a move that will shake up the highest rungs of a fragmented market. The merger would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue, according to Icon, and the merger will set the newco up to be the second-largest global CRO behind only IQVIA.

Endpoints News

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Fol­low biotechs go­ing pub­lic with the End­points News IPO Track­er

The Endpoints News team is continuing to track IPO filings for 2021, and we’ve designed a new tracker page for the effort.

Check it out here: Biopharma IPOs 2021 from Endpoints News

You’ll be able to find all the biotechs that have filed and priced so far this year, sortable by quarter and listed by newest first. As of the time of publishing on Feb. 25, there have already been 16 biotechs debuting on Nasdaq so far this year, with an additional four having filed their S-1 paperwork.

Tom Barnes (Orna)

The mR­NA era is here. MPM be­lieves the fu­ture be­longs to oR­NA — and Big Phar­ma wants a seat at the ta­ble

If the ultra-fast clinical development of Covid-19 vaccines opened the world’s eyes to the promises of messenger RNA, the subsequent delays in supply offered a crash course on the ultra-complex process of producing them. Even before the formulation and fill-finish steps, mRNA is the precious end product from an arduous journey involving enzyme-aided transcription, modification and purification.

For Bristol Myers Squibb, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Gilead’s Kite and Astellas, it’s time to rethink the way therapeutic RNA is engineered.

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Tal Zaks, Moderna CMO (AP Photo/Rodrique Ngowi, via still image from video)

CMO Tal Zaks bids Mod­er­na a sur­prise adieu as biotech projects $18.4B in rev­enue, plots post-Covid ex­pan­sion

How do you exit a company after six years in style? Developing one of the most lucrative and life-saving products in pharma history is probably not the worst way to go.

Tal Zaks, Moderna’s CMO since 2015, will leave the mRNA biotech in September, the biotech disclosed in their annual report this morning. The company has already retained the recruitment firm Russell Reynolds to find a replacement.

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Ken Frazier, Merck CEO (Bess Adler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Mer­ck takes a swing at the IL-2 puz­zle­box with a $1.85B play for buzzy Pan­dion and its au­toim­mune hope­fuls

When Roger Perlmutter bid farewell to Merck late last year, the drugmaker perhaps best known now for sales giant Keytruda signaled its intent to take a swing at early-stage novelty with the appointment of discovery head Dean Li. Now, Merck is signing a decent-sized check to bring an IL-2 moonshot into the fold.

Merck will shell out roughly $1.85 billion for Pandion Pharmaceuticals, a biotech hoping to gin up regulatory T cells (Tregs) to treat a range of autoimmune disorders, the drugmaker said Thursday.

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Avid Bioser­vices, with re­cent IPO and Covid-19 part­ner­ship in hand, launch­es 2nd phase of fa­cil­i­ty ex­pan­sion

California’s Avid Bioservices now has two simultaneous expansion projects underway as the CDMO’s projections for customer demand sparked the launch this week of the second phase of building out its Myford facility.

Avid expects construction on the second phase, which will be known as its Myford South facility to take 18 to 24 months to complete at a cost of roughly $45 million to $55 million, it said in a press release.

Joe Biden (Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Biden wants a re­view of the API sup­ply chain. Will that par­lay in­to an ef­fort to 'on­shore' drug man­u­fac­tur­ing?

When former President Donald J. Trump was voted out of office Nov. 2, his gung-ho effort to “onshore” drug manufacturing was left mostly up in the air. Joe Biden has been mostly mum on whether he would continue that effort, but a new executive order could provide a clue — at least in a few months.

In an order signed Wednesday, Biden demanded a 100-day governmental review of key supply chains, including for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used in American drugs.

S&P ex­pects steady ero­sion in Big Phar­ma's cred­it pro­file in 2021 as new M&A deals roll in — but don't un­der­es­ti­mate their un­der­ly­ing strength

S&P Global has taken a look at the dominant forces shaping the pharma market and come to the conclusion that there will be more downgrades than upgrades in 2021 — the 8th straight year of steady decline.

But it’s not all bad news. Some things are looking up, and there’s still plenty of money to be made in an industry that enjoys a 30% to 40% profit margin, once you factor in steep R&D expenses.