Rare Daily Staff

Rare disease drugmaker Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s board of directors recommended acceptance by shareholders of an $8.1 billion cash takeover by private equity, the company said in a statement.

The deal, if completed, is the third multibillion dollar acquisition of a rare disease drugmaker in the past year, after AstraZeneca’s $39 billion deal for Alexion and Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ $7.2 billion deal for GW Pharmaceuticals.

The offer was made by global private equity firm Advent International along with Aurora Investment, an affiliate of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte, through the takeover entity Agnafit Bidco, which offered $27.26 (SEK 235) per Sobi share in cash, a 34.5 percent premium compared to the closing price of Sobi shares on Nasdaq Stockholm on August 25, 2021, the last trading day prior to media speculation regarding a potential public offer for the company.

Major shareholder Investor AB, which holds 36.5 percent of Sobi shares, had separately agreed to tender its shares conditional on a better offer not being extended.

After running its own due diligence, the Sobi board said in a statement, “The board believes that the terms of the offer recognize Sobi’s long-term growth prospects, as well as the risks associated with those prospects, and provides certainty, in cash, to the Sobi shareholders.”

Sobi has built a portfolio focused on rare disease therapies and services in the areas of hematology, immunology, and specialty care with six key products and offices in more than 30 countries. Through acquisitions and partnerships, it has more than ten late-stage R&D programs targeting significant unmet medical needs.

Its portfolio includes ex-U.S. commercial rights to Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ C3 inhibitor Empaveli, recently approved in the United States to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria after beating Alexion’s Soliris in improving patients’ hemoglobin levels.

It also includes anti-interferon-gamma antibody Gamifant to treat the rare disease primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (pHLH), for which it gained full rights through a 2019 deal with Novimmune, soon after it gained U.S. approval. Although the European Medicines Agency twice rejected Gamifant in pHLH, Sobi is evaluating it in secondary HLH and acute graft failure.

Sobi’s revenues climbed 8 percent year over year in 2020 at constant currencies to $1.78 billion (SEK 15.3 billion) ($1.78 billion), and the board said the company is well-positioned for long-term growth with a target of reaching $2.92 billion (SEK25 billion) in revenues in 2025.

The offer is expected to commence on or around September 22, 2021, and expire one month later, subject to any extensions. Completion of the offer is conditional upon, among other things, tender of more than 90 per cent of the total number of shares in Sobi and the receipt of all necessary and acceptable regulatory, governmental, or similar clearances, approvals, and decisions, including from competition authorities. Agnafit Bidco has reserved the right to waive these and other conditions for completion of the offer.

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