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Novo Nordisk set to acquire Emisphere Technology for $1.8bn

Danish pharma will acquire all outstanding shares in Emisphere

Danish pharma company Novo Nordisk has announced an agreement to acquire drug delivery specialist Emisphere Technologies for $1.8bn.

Novo is set to acquire all outstanding shares in Emisphere for $1.35bn and will also purchase related Eligen SNAC royalty stream obligations owed to MHR Fund Management for $450m.

Following the acquisition deal completion, Novo will pick up Emisphere’s drug delivery technology – Eligen SNAC – which it uses in its oral diabetes drug Rybelsus (oral semaglutide).

Eligen SNAC is a drug delivery platform that uses synthetic chemical compounds – known as Emisphere delivery agents – to allow small and large molecule drugs to be taken orally without their chemical form being altered by processes in the body.

Novo won US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Rybelsus in September 2019, when it became the first oral alternative to injectable GLP-1 agonists.

Since then, the oral diabetes drug has been approved in Europe and in a number of other key global markets.

Now, the Danish pharma will have complete access to the Eligen SNAC technology, which could see it develop oral formulations of injected drugs without future royalty obligations.

“We intend to apply and further develop the technology and use it on current and future pipeline assets with the aim of making more biologic medicines orally available for patients,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Novo Nordisk.

In 2010, Novo entered a licence agreement with Emisphere to develop and market oral insulins, using the latter company’s technology to create oral formulations of insulins already marketed by Novo.

The two companies first teamed up in 2007 when Novo signed an initial licence agreement with Emisphere concerning the development of oral formulations of GLP-1 receptor agonists2 to stimulate the release of insulin in type 2 diabetes patients.

“After a thorough analysis of strategic alternatives, the Emisphere Board and the Special Committee unanimously determined that a combination with Novo Nordisk is the best way to maximise value for our stockholders,” said Timothy G. Rothwell, chairman of Emisphere.

Novo’s GLP-1 agonist franchise also includes Ozempic (semglutide) and Victoza (liraglutide).

Both drugs are approved for use along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, and to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke or death in adults with type 2 diabetes with known heart disease.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

9th November 2020

From: Sales

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