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Novo Nordisk to buy Dicerna Pharmaceuticals for $3.3bn

The pharma company has been collaborating with Dicerna on its RNAi gene silencing platform since 2019

Novo Nordisk

Denmark-based Novo Nordisk has announced its intention to acquire Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company Dicerna Pharmaceuticals for $3.3bn.

The two companies have been collaborating since 2019 and the tender offer takes place just ahead of their first clinical development programme, which is due to start in 2022.

Dicerna – a publicly held company based in Lexington, Massachusetts – focuses on therapeutics stemming from its ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) platform that selectively silence genes that cause or contribute to disease.

The ‘strategic addition’ of Dicerna supports Novo Nordisk’s strategy of using a broad range of technology platforms, said the company.

“The acquisition of Dicerna accelerates Novo Nordisk’s research within RNAi and expands the usage of the RNAi technology,” said Professor Marcus Schindler, chief scientific officer at Novo Nordisk. He said the combined expertise of the two companies would “deliver life-changing precision medicines” for chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), as well as rare diseases such as endocrine and bleeding disorders.

Dicerna president and CEO Douglas Fambrough added that the two companies had “established a strong rapport” during their two-year collaboration. “The combination of Dicerna’s expertise in RNAi and oligonucleotide therapeutics and highly skilled employees with Novo Nordisk’s industry leadership in developing and commercialising medicines to treat serious chronic diseases has the potential to significantly accelerate and expand our mission to deliver GalXC RNAi therapies for the benefit of patients and all our stakeholders,” he said.

Novo Nordisk will make a cash tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Dicerna common stock for $38.25 per share in cash for a total equity value of approximately $3.3bn, said the company. As the deal will be debt-financed, the transaction will not impact its operating profit outlook for 2021 – which it upgraded in October – or the share buyback programme the company performed earlier this year.

Dicerna believes its proprietary GalXC and GalXC-Plus RNAi technologies will lead to the development of RNAi-based therapies to treat both rare and more prevalent diseases. Its platform has attracted attention from several pharma companies and Dicerna has ongoing partnerships with Roche, Eli Lilly, Alexion and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Collectively, they have more than 20 active discovery, preclinical or clinical programmes focused on cardiometabolic, viral, chronic liver and complement-mediated diseases, as well as neurodegenerative diseases and pain.

Article by
Hugh Gosling

19th November 2021

From: Healthcare

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