United Kingdom-based Amryt Pharma is expanding its rare disease portfolio by acquiring Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Canadian pharmaceutical Novelion, for $311 million.

The deal gives Amryt U.S. rights to lomitapide, which is approved to treat adults with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a rare inherited disorder that impairs the body’s ability to remove low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, from the blood, which leads to premature narrowing and blocking of blood vessels.  

Amryt already holds marketing rights to lomitapide in the European Union, Middle East, North Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Israel, Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the non-EU Balkan states.

The deal also adds Aegerion’s Myalept to Amryt’s rare disease portfolio. Myalept, metreleptin injection, is approved in the United States to treat the rare disease generalized lipodystrophy. Aegerion had acquired the drug from AstraZeneca for $325 million in 2014.

“The acquisition of Aegerion accelerates our ambition to become a global leader in treating rare conditions where there is a high unmet medical need,” said Joe Wiley, CEO of Amryt. “By delivering two substantial revenue-generating products and an enhanced pipeline of promising development opportunities, this will significantly strengthen our growth in highly attractive markets globally.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the reverse mergers values Aegerion at $190.7 million and Amryt at $120 million. The combined company will have its global headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and have a U.S. office in Boston. Amryt plans to finance the merger through a $60 million equity offering.

As part of the deal, Aegerion’s balance sheet is being restructured under a U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. Aegerion paid $35 million to settle criminal and civil false claims allegations with the U.S. government over its marketing practices for the drug Juxtapid.

As part of the deal, Novelion will receive approximately 10 percent of the equity of the combined company.

Photo: Joe Wiley, CEO of Amryt

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