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Chiesi hits the acquisition trail again

Will buy US speciality pharma company Cornerstone

ChiesiItaly's Chiesi has signed its second acquisition deal in as many months, agreeing a $9.50-a-share deal for US speciality pharma company Cornerstone Therapeutics.

Chiesi already owns 58 per cent of Cornerstone but will now assume full control of the company, which specialises in selling pharmaceuticals into the hospital sector. The value of the deal is around $107m and all in all values Cornerstone at some $255m.

The agreement comes shortly after Chiesi cut a deal to buy Danish company Zymenex last month, marking its entry into the rare disease market with products such as Lamazym for the rare inherited disorder alpha-mannosidosis.

Chiesi first said it was interested in taking full control of Cornerstone in February, and its offer represents a 78 per cent premium on the US company's share price ahead of that announcement, although it is roughly in line with Cornerstone's current share price of $9.47.

Cornerstone has established sales channels in the US market selling a range of acute cardiovascular and respiratory care products, including Cardene IV (nicardipine) for hypertensive crises and the thrombolytic Retavase (reteplase), with sales of around $80m in the first half of the year up a massive 80 per cent on the same period of 2012.

Chiesi said the deal "represents a significant step towards strengthening its presence in the US" and will provide a conduit for the roll-out of its own speciality, respiratory and rare disease products.

The Italian company's chief executive Ugo Di Francesco said the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014 and "offers immediate and significant cash value to Cornerstone stockholders".

Cornerstone has been operating in the red for a few years as it bought a portfolio of speciality medicines, but the business has now settled down and second-quarter profit rocketed 130 per cent to $5.8m.

Article by
Phil Taylor

17th September 2013

From: Sales

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